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Sue Foley leaves Pinky’s blues behind for an intimate acoustic stop at Festival Place

With decades of playing, singing, songwriting and touring behind her, Foley composes some of her best music, as evidenced by her latest Stony Plain album, Pinky’s Blues.

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The first media interview Sue Foley ever did around the age of 19 quoted her saying, “I can’t wait until I’m 40.”

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She was talking about the benefits of experience, and today, as Canada’s top female blues guitar export reaches mid-career, it seems she couldn’t be more comfortable with the way the things are happening.

“With this music, you had to have a life experience,” she explains, “and at the time, all the artists I admired were older and wise, and they had stories. “one of the beautiful things about blues music. Your story gets richer as you get older. You have more to say and more to give, and more ability to affect people as long as you keep a positive attitude.

With decades of playing, singing, songwriting and touring behind her, Foley composes some of her best music, as evidenced by her latest Stony Plain album, Pinky’s Blues. She’s been based in Austin, Texas for decades now, but was at home in Ontario visiting family for the first time since the pandemic hit when she took the time to speak about the recent post.

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Named after his pink paisley telecaster guitar, Pinky’s Blues was recorded in an unexpected and therapeutic three-day marathon near Austin with old friends and colleagues Mike Flanigin producing and adding keys, bassist Jon Penner and drummer Chris Layton. Three songs are new Foley originals, including his guitar tribute track and new single Hurricane Girl, which features personal references in the song and video.

That left room for a few nods to Foley’s most treasured Texas acquaintances, past and present with two numbers by the great Angela Strehli, plus tunes by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Willie Dixon, Frankie Lee Sims and others. Various tracks reference the styles of Texas guitarists she has come to know and love.

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“There are so many different sounds and unique styles in Texas blues,” Foley notes, “and I’ve spent time studying a lot of them, from T-Bone (Walker) to the Vaughan Brothers, from Freddie King to Lightnin ‘ Hopkins. There’s a cultural attitude to Texas that you see in the musicians there. It’s almost its own country and it’s definitely in the culture of the guitarists.

Foley’s Sunday show at Festival Place is again something different, a rare acoustic date featuring an eclectic range of songs that span her career, the new album and some of those favorite artists she’s admired over the years. years, all channeled through a nylon six-cord.

This secondary acoustic activity is linked to a long-term project and its mastery. When she’s not busy making her own music, Foley studies the female blues guitarists who paved the way.

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“I’ve researched all my life and read about my favorite artists. For a long time I have been working on a thesis and a book about them (women guitarists) and in my shows I pay my hats off to some of the pioneering guitarists like Maybelle Carter, Memphis Minnie and Elizabeth Cotton. There are a bunch of them and such interesting stories.

She won’t say when the book will be released, but some of the tunes she learned along the way are appearing in concert.

Ottawa-born Foley was just 20 when the blues lured her to Texas on a US tour with Mark Hummel, and just 21 when she made her Young Girl Blues debut for the club. and label owner/producer Clifford Antone, moving to Austin at the same time. weather. She’s recorded 15 albums since, guested on many more, and most recently hosted a special guitar guest ensemble from Texas on her 2017 record Ice Queen.

Foley and his band are booked for an appearance at the Edmonton Blues Festival in August.


Sue Foley

Where: Festival Place, Sherwood Park

When: 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 24

Tickets: From $36 at the box office at 780-449-3378, or, 780-451-8000

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