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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats With Multi Award-Winning Blues Artist Sue Foley


By Ken Wallis.



Sue Foley is a dynamic, energetic musician whose talent crackles, whether on a studio album or in a live environment. She’s won three Blues Music Awards as Traditional Blues Female Artist, a Juno Award, holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards (seventeen) and has earned three Trophees de Blues de France. When she takes the stage, the audience is mesmerized and I saw it first hand when she recently performed in Hamilton, Ontario.


Ken Wallis interviewed Sue Foley for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, amended and edited for brevity and clarity.





Ken Wallis

Sue Foley has a new album out. It’s entitled Live In Austin: Volume 1 and joining us is Sue Foley. Sue, great seeing you, great to have you on the show.


Sue Foley

Thank you, good to be here.


Ken Wallis

You picked up your guitar at a very early age. What got you interested in music?

Sue Foley

I'm from a musical family and my father played guitar, my three older brothers played guitar, so guitar was just part of our family. It's part of what we did together and there was a lot of playing around the house, a lot of jamming, a lot of loud guitars. It was a great environment to grow up in.


Ken Wallis

And how did someone from Ottawa end up in Texas?

Sue Foley

Well, I got involved in the blues scene there when I was still a teenager. In Ottawa, I started going to blues shows and got into bands and stuff, and then I moved to Vancouver at 18, and then we started touring through the U.S. I met Clifford Antone from Austin; he's the owner of Antone's nightclub and record company and he invited me to Austin. By the time I was 21, I was down there recording for his label and Antone’s was a really famous blues mecca really, where Stevie Ray and The Fabulous Thunderbirds and all these really famous Texas, Austin Texas blues bands got their start. It was just the perfect environment and I ended up staying and recording for that label for five albums and I'm back in Austin now. It's a great scene.


Ken Wallis

So, after Pinky's Blues, which had great success, why go to a live album?


Sue Foley

Well, I've gotten requests since our very first tours. People have heard my albums and then they'd see us live, and they'd always request, ‘hey have you ever done a live album’? I've been hearing that my whole career, so this is my first electric band album, it's long overdue and we put a lot of effort and care into this. It's not just like a throwaway live album, it's really well produced, it's mastered at Abbey Road in London, and we used really high-quality people to record it. We got a great producer, Mike Flanagan and it's just really good quality. It really represents how we sound live and it's full of energy. We wanted to make something really fun and rocking, so it's more of a rock and blues album, but definitely on the fun side.


Ken Wallis

How did you go about selecting the tunes?, you've got a great mixture in there. You’ve got some classic songs, you've got some of your own material, it's a great mixture.


Sue Foley

Oh, thank you so much, we called it Volume One because we have so much material that we recorded in a two-day span in Austin, and there will be definitely a Volume Two. We picked more of my back catalogue for this one, some songs that I had done on albums from my very first album to my fourth or fifth album, and I've recorded like a dozen albums, so I've got a lot of material. We just picked the best.


Ken Wallis

One of the songs on the album that I just love, is Hooked On Love, that is a great tune.


Sue Foley

Oh, thank you, that's a super fun instrumental and that one I recorded on my first album. If you go back to Young Girl Blues, which was released in ’92, that song is on there and it's still something I can refer back to and have a great time with.


Ken Wallis

I was looking at your website and you've got a very cool, unique River Cruise coming up next year.

Sue Foley

We're going in October, a year from now. We're going on along The Danube, from Budapest through Hungary, and I think some in Germany. It's an amazing cruise down The Danube River and it's a week long. It's just us and our fans, so it's a very select group of people. It's small, I think there's only 70 cabins, so it's probably going to sell out. That's going to be super cool and a great way to see the band perform several nights in a row.

Ken Wallis

That would be fantastic. One other project that you've got going is Guitar Woman.

Sue Foley

Yes, that's coming up early next year. When I was still a young girl, I was paying attention to other women guitar players, but in the in the early 2000s I started actually interviewing women players and that's getting logged into a book. I also did an intense deep dive into the pioneering women of guitar where I studied their guitar styles and their music and their stories. So that's a one-woman, called One Guitar Woman, and that album will be coming out on Stony Plain, True North probably by March next year. That's super fun and I will preview that at shows. I'm doing a short sort of preview and introduction to that project just so people know what's on the horizon.


Ken Wallis

Well, that sounds fantastic. Again, the album is Live In Austin: Volume 1, it's fantastic, it really captures your enthusiasm and your great guitar playing. I encourage everybody to go and get it. Where can folks get a hold of the album?

Sue Foley

They can get the album at stonyplainrecords.com, or they can come to a show, which is the best way. They can also go on my shop on my website and there's a link there, suefoley.com so it should be pretty easy to get. Of course, it's going to be streaming everywhere right now and we've got two singles out there.

Ken Wallis

Sue, I really appreciate your time, it's been great chatting with you.


Sue Foley

Thanks very much, have a great day.





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