Sue Foley The Ice Queen
Published Feb 28, 2018This Ottawa-based blues guitarist and singer has been under-appreciated on the Canadian scene, though she did win a Juno in 2001 for Love Coming Down. She has always been held in high regard in Austin, TX though. She was based there in the '90s, recording for the famed Antone's label, and she returned to the Lone Star state to record this sparkling new album.
The peer respect she earned there pays off via guest appearances from Charlie Sexton, Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, while her ace band includes the likes of Chris Layton (Double Trouble), George Rains, and producer/keyboardist Mike Flanigin. She's in no danger of being overshadowed, though, for her playing and singing are of the highest order.
Foley's fluent and versatile axemanship has long been her key asset, but the years have added emotional gravitas to her voice, one a mite suggestive of Lucinda Williams at times. The shared guitar and vocal work of Jimmie Vaughan on "The Lucky Ones" makes it a highlight, with Gibbons taking a similar role on "Fool's Gold." A wailing horn section boosts "Gaslight" and "If I Have Forsaken You," and Foley covers a wide range of blues styles with authority.
She really stretches out at the end, with two completely solo cuts (just voice and guitar). Her playing on the haunting "The Dance" has a strong flamenco feel, and she then covers A.P. Carter's "Cannonball Blues" in authentic country blues fashion. The album title is a tad misleading, as this record is as hot as an August afternoon in Austin. (Stony Plain)