Every week, CDs cross our desks from musicians looking to plug their shows on the way through town. Most are good, but few make you wonder how soon you'll be saying, "I heard her when ..." The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster is one of those rarities. Yes, the title's a bit immodest, but Ruthie Foster's got the pipes to back it up. (Plus, the title actually refers to "Phenomenal Woman," a poem by Maya Angelou that, in Foster's hands, becomes one of the best chick anthems since Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman.") Yes, I'm gushing, but don't miss her at 7:30 tonight at the Thirsty Parrot (32 S. Tejon St.). Tickets are $13 to $30 and available at 473-4801 or amusiccompanyinc.com. JT
I've got the blues. I've got the wish-I-had-the-blues-so-I-could-sing-the-blues blues. What I don't have is the wish-there-were-better-blues-acts"in-Colorado-Springs blues, 'cause there's some real talent here. And there's some real blues talent that comes here. For instance: Iowa natives Joe and Vicki Price, who'll play at 7 tonight at Front Range Barbeque (2330 W. Colorado Ave.). What makes them worth seeing? Well, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Greg Brown calls Joe "the Buddha" and they're stopping here en route to appearing at Telluride's Blues and Brews festival. That's gotta count for something. For info, call 632-2596. PF
Hear some purrs. Then some fire. That's your schedule for the day. First, head to the City Auditorium (221 E. Kiowa St.) for the first of two days of the Rocky Mountain Cat Fanciers 30th annual Fall Show and check out more than 200 pedigreed cats from across the country. It's like a dog show. But with cats. Adorable. For info, call 471-2887 or visit rmcf.org. Later, head to theElement (1626 S. Tejon St.) and take in The Actual. Let's ignore, for a second, that lead singer Max Bernstein is the lovechild of writer Nora Ephron and Watergate journo Carl Bernstein. His pop-punk rock band is actually pretty good and well-credentialed the group just finished a stint opening for Velvet Revolver. At 8, The Actual shares the bill with Peachcake and Tokyo Rose. Tickets are $7; for more info, call 640-6912. PF
Recently, my mom bought me a ticket for the Josh Groban concert at the Pepsi Center. Being that his followers call themselves "Grobanites," I have to admit I wasn't that excited. But Groban had an amazing voice and was quite funny, and the accompanying orchestra was very impressive. And while the Sonora Chamber Ensemble may not have a bunch of "Sonorites" following them around, its show is rumored to impress, too. See the group at 3 this afternoon at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (304 U.S. Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake). Tickets are $8 to $12. For more, call 481-0475 or go online at trilakesarts.org. AL
If your love of flax this and yoga that is mirrored by your love of sweet American freedom, then attend the Colorado Health Freedom Summit beginning at 10 a.m. today at the Unity Church in the Rockies (1945 Mesa Road). Local activists are forming an alliance and aiming to introduce a health-freedom bill in 2008 to combat the Colorado Medical Practice Act, which affects unlicensed (by the state) alternative-health practitioners. Guest speakers who've set up successful alliances elsewhere will lecture, and future meetings will be organized. Call 322-3149 or 651-4899 for more. MS
If you can't take any time today to reflect on Sept. 11, 2001, think about attending the Operation Hope / America Supports You Freedom Walk at the Fort Carson Army Post (main gate on Nelson Boulevard) beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. The three-mile walk honors veterans, civil servants, our troops and 9/11 victims. Following the walk, catch country music acts and a speaker series, including 9/11 widow Cheryl McGuinness, whose husband was a pilot of American Airlines Flight 11. Visit bhoc.us or call 303/290-7412 for more or to register for the walk. MS
The Free Hugs Campaign has come to town and is landing tonight at The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.). With more than 17 million YouTube hits under its belt for a music video about getting friendly with strangers, the band Sick Puppies will be spreading the love and playing other songs too. No groping allowed: It's about being nice, boys and girls. Opening with the band are Pride Tiger and Autovaughn. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 and costs $15. Buy advance tickets at ticketweb.com. EA
This week's 7 Days contributors: Edie Adelstein, Pete Freedman, Amanda Lundgren, Matthew Schniper and Jill Thomas.