AUSTIN, Texas It was 102 degrees in the shade
Saturday afternoon, and inside the Tower Records on
Guadalupe Street things were hot as well, fueled by the
fluid guitar lines of rising blues star
Before appearing later that night at a celebration
honoring the 25th anniversary of the seminal Austin blues
club Antone's (also home of the record label that
launched her national presence), Foley was celebrating the
recent release of her sixth CD, Love Comin'
Down (Shanachie, 2000).
The disc, hailed as a career-maker for the Canadian-born
artist, was produced by Colin
Linden and features nine Foley originals.
Playing to an initial crowd of about 35 (which grew
rapidly as her set progressed) Foley opened with the
blues-and-love traveler's tale "Two Trains" (
Clearly a woman in command of her instrument, the
petite Foley, dressed casually in a black tank top and
blue slacks, sent notes from her pink-and-gold
paisley-patterned electric guitar sliding and bending throughout
the store and down the sun-baked street outside,
framing her rough-edged soprano with style.
Backed by a three-piece band of drums, keyboard and
bass, she quickly made listeners ranging in age from
the elementary-school set to the white-haired forget
about the chrome-and-metal ambience of a modern record
store, drawing them deeper into the blues with a
sizzling cover of the Willie
Dixon tune "Same Thing," which is also on
Love Comin' Down.
Foley was first attracted to the bluesy side of the
music as a teenager and decided to learn the blues herself
when she heard harmonica player
COLOR="#003163">James Cotton COLOR="#003163">Muddy Waters
COLOR="#003163">James Cotton, a longtime
She's learned the lessons well, recently winning
Female Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards in
Canada and attracting notice as a rising talent from
Folk Grammy winner Lucinda
Williams sat in on Foley's latest disc, which
also includes another tune she showcased, a
barrelhouse blues about a woman with a mind of her own called
"You're Barkin' Up the Wrong Tree" (
Dennis Elinsky, who works at Tower, said
in-store appearances such as Foley's give the customers
something different to look forward to, "and I'm really
enjoying this, because I love Sue's music. She's
Store patrons seemed to agree, as even those browsing
in the classical and jazz sections upstairs came down
to see where the music was coming from and stayed to
listen as Foley hit a laid-back, jazz-flavored blues
song, "Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')," and took it
into an extended jam with her band.
As the hot notes floated down the hot street,
passers-by looked in and came to stay, filling up the aisle of
the store, tapping their feet and nodding their heads
in time with the guitar-driven rhythm.
Drawing her showcase to a close, Foley took on "Let Me
Drive," another vignette of feisty independence backed
by sweetness. She then mingled with her fans,
answering questions and signing autographs, before heading off
to prepare for her evening set at Antone's.
Occasionally sounding like a more mellow-voiced
Janis Joplin or a
Raitt, in this brief, five-song set Foley showed a style
and voice distinctly her own and proved herself an
electrifying, substantial guitar player.