Sue Foley’s New Album Celebrates Texas Blues

Canadian blues veteran pays homage to artists who prompted her move to the lone star state more than 30 years ago

If you frequently read my blog or know my music taste otherwise, this post probably won’t come as a big surprise. My latest Best of What’s New installment included Dallas Man, an excellent tune by Canadian blues veteran Sue Foley from her new album Pinky’s Blues. When the music is so great, there’s no way I wouldn’t check out the album. Well, that’s what I did, and I very much like what I heard.

Released on October 22, Pinky’s Blues is the 11th studio album by Foley who relocated to Austin, Texas in her early ’20s, drawn to the lone star state by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Freddie King. Now, after all these years, Foley decided to pay homage to some of the blues artists who were born in Texas or ended up there.

According to a news post on the website of Foley’s record label Stone Plain Records, Pinky’s Blues was recorded last year during COVID lockdown at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas. In addition to Foley (guitar, vocals), the album features Jon Penner (bass), Chris “Whipper” Layton (drums) and Mike Flanigin (organ) who also served as producer.

Seven of the 10 tracks are renditions of songs by artists like Lavelle White, Frankie Lee Sims, Lillie Mae Donley and Angela Strehli. While there’s no Stevie Ray Vaughan or Freddie King here, it’s still a compelling set of tunes Foley picked to cover. And there are three great original songs, including the aforementioned Dallas Man.

“What you’re hearing is live, off the floor, in the moment the music was played totally spontaneously and, mainly, improvised,” Foley explained. “And, we wanted to make something representative of the Texas blues that we had been schooled on in Austin. So, we picked great songs and I wrote a few of my own to round things out. Everything on it is a labor of love.”

Well, I’d say the time has come to sample some of the goodies! Let’s start with the title track, which also happens to be the opener. Pinky’s Blues, an instrumental written by Foley, refers to her pink paisley Fender Telecaster (called Pinkie) she’s played for decades. Check out that neat sound!

Since I recently covered Dallas Man, I’m skipping it here and go to Southern Men. Originally called Southern Women, the song was written by Leonard Allen and recorded by blues and R&B artist Tommy Brown in 1954.

Here’s Hurricane Girl, the third tune written by Foley. I just love how that song is shuffling along and could totally picture Stevie Ray Vaughan play it. This is so good!

Next up: Stop These Teardrops, a tune written by Lavelle White that appeared on her debut album Miss Lavelle from 1994. What a great rendition! If you’re curious, the compelling original is here.

The final track I’d like to call out is Boogie Real Low, another great cover. The song was written by electric blues guitarist Frankie Lee Sims and titled She Likes to Boogie Really Low. Sims recorded it in 1958.

Further reflecting on her music journey, Foley said, “The fact that I have ended up back in Austin just seems right. My home is Canada and I definitely identify as a Canadian. But I had a yearning for this music and I can’t even put my finger on why or how. It got in my soul when I was a teenager. I guess I was open and I got imprinted by the sound and the force of blues music. I saw my first blues show at 15 and I swear I’ve never been the same.”

To support the release of her new album, Foley has embarked on a large tour of the U.S. and Canada. “After being home for so long, all I really want to do is turn up and play my guitar for as many folks as I can,” Foley said. “I can’t wait to get out on the road.” Her tour schedule is here.

Sources: Wikipedia; Stony Plain Records website; Sue Foley website; YouTube

11 thoughts on “Sue Foley’s New Album Celebrates Texas Blues”

  1. Just came across your blog (Oct 2021). So much great music you write about. Looking forward to reading more. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you might enjoy Peter Case – try one of his earlier albums – Full Service No Waiting or Torn Again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Foley habe ich vor ein paar Jahren live erlebt. Sie hat ein bemerkenswertes Können auf ihrer Pink-Stratocaster, kombiniert Pizzikatotechniken mit Tremoloeffekten und spielt Riffs so vordergründig als wären es Solis. Und sie lacht auch mal über kleinere Ausrutscher, die ihr dabei passieren.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sehr schoene Beschreibung. Und eine bloede Frage an Dich: Ich musste beim Lesen ihres Namens an Blaze Foley denken, aber ich vermute, die beiden stehen in keiner verwandtschaftlichen Beziehung zueinander?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Der amerikanische Songwriter Blaze Foley ist mir im Zusammenhang mit Townes Van Zandt und Calvin Russell bekannt. Ich glaube kaum, dass er mit der Kanadierin Sue Foley verwandt ist.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Gemessen an dem, was ich bisher gehoert habe kann ich mir gut vorstellen, das ein Konzert von Sue Foley Spass macht. Gelegentliche kleinere Ausrutscher sind kein Problem und wohl gleichzeitig auch ein Beweiss dafuer, dass man tatsaechlich Live-Musik und nicht irgend etwas hoert, was zuvor aufgenommen wurde.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Foley’s been around a while but I didn’t know much about her. Didn’t even know she was Canadian. Chris Layton was, of course, SRV’s drummer in Double Trouble. Interesting that she leans more towards the clean, less flashy, less “rock” sound of Jimmie Vaughan as opposed to Stevie Ray.

    Like

  4. Awesome sound Christian…She is blues through and through. I read fox’s comment… which makes me like her even more.

    Like

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