EPISODE 42 – Sue Foley

Sue Foley is a Canadian guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader based in Austin, Texas. Her trademark instrument is a pink paisley Fender Telecaster. She signed with Antone’s Records for her 1992 acclaimed debut album Young Girl Blues, and followed with Without a Warning a year later. Foley’s wicked lead guitar made her a rarity among blueswomen at the time. She signed to Shanachie for 1998’s Ten Days In November, then returned to live in Canada where 2000’s Love Comin’ Down won a Juno award. In 2001 Foley started a music history project called Guitar Woman based on dozens of interviews she conducted with the world’s leading female guitarists. Between 2001-2008, she wrote articles, organized and promoted concerts, and worked on a book. After 2002’s acclaimed Where The Action Is… she left Shanachie for Germany’s Ruf Records where she issued two solo outings: 2004’s Change and 2006’s now-classic, New Used Car. She issued Time Bomb in collaboration with label mates Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin in 2007. The Guitar Woman project went dormant between 2009-2015 while Foley cut two albums for Blind Pig with guitarist Peter Karp (He Said, She Said, 2010 and Beyond The Crossroads, 2012) and attended university to earn a graduate degree. She returned to Austin in 2018 and released The Ice Queen for Canada’s Stony Plain in 2018, and played in a supergroup with Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, and organist Mike Flanigin.

During the pandemic, Foley and Flanigin entered Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas, with engineer Chris Bell, former Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, and veteran bassist Jon Penner, who played on Foley’s early records. They’d just finished recording the organist’s West Texas Blues outing and were comfortable enough with their brand of social distancing to work in an otherwise closed studio. They completed the 12-song Pinky’s Blues in three days, cutting tracks live from the studio floor without overdubs. Among the songs they recorded were Lavelle White’s “Stop These Teardrops,” Frankie Lee Sims’ “Boogie Real Low,” Lillie Mae Donley’s “Think It Over, Angela Strehli’s “Two Bit Texas Town,” and three Foley originals including the single and video for “Dallas Man.” Pinky’s Blues was released by Stony Plain in October 2021.