Blues a family thing for Sue Foley

Sudbury Star

She’s at the Beef N Bird on Sudbury on Sept. 5

Sue Foley is playing the Beef N Bird in Sudbury on Sept. 5. Supplied photo Scott Doubt / jpg, SU

Sue Foley spent her early childhood in Ottawa, mesmerized by her father’s guitar. She began her professional career at 16 and by 21, Foley was living in Austin, TX and recording for Antone’s, the esteemed blues label and historic nightclub that helped launch the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Foley has toured steadily with her band, toting her signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster. She has worked with BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty.

Foley will be in Sudbury on Sept. 5, playing the Beef N Bird on Lorne Street.

She has won the Juno Award for her CD, Love Coming Down, in 2001. She also holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards (17) and has earned three Trophees de Blues de France. She has also garnered several nominations at the International Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Her latest album, The Ice Queen, was a Juno nominee.

Here, Foley takes time to answer The Star’s 10 Questions (er, Nine Questions).

Q. Describe your sound in seven words.

A. Energetic, ballsy, fun, bluesy, power trio, intimate, rockin’, acoustic

Q. What inspired you to pick up the guitar?

A. My father and my three older brothers played guitar, so it’s a family thing. I grew up around heavy guitar music of the 1970s like Clapton, Page, Hendrix etc., and was submersed in guitar culture from the time I was a child. It really just felt natural to me to learn to play, too.

Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in music?

A. It’s almost like I always knew I would be a professional musician. I talked about being a singer from the time I was a little child and then when I started on guitar at 13, I had no doubt. I was a pro by the time I was 16.

Q. What’s your most memorable stage moment?

A. There are so many but the most memorable recent stage moment was sitting in with Buddy Guy at Ottawa Bluesfest to about 10,000 people. Buddy is one of my all-time guitar heroes and he was so gracious and generous to reign me up to play with him. It really was a special moment for me — plus it’s my hometown, so that was incredible.

Q. What attracts you to the blues and roots music?

A. Blues and roots music is real. It’s powerful. Blues in particular, when played well, speaks the truth. And you get better as you get older. It’s a life-long journey to expressing your own truth.

Q. You started young in this industry. With everything you’ve seen and accomplished, what is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

A. Believe in yourself and assert yourself when you know what’s right. It’s not always easy to do that as a young woman. Develop your skills and love the work. Let’s face it, looks fade, so you can’t base yourself around how you appear to others. If you have strong skills, that’s golden.

Q. an influence that might surprise readers.

A. Oprah

Q. Explain your writing process.

A. Perseverance. Just keep at it and you get better. When I get into a writing jag, I write every day and I allow myself to write badly in order to get where I need to go. Self-acceptance is big. I try to not be too critical of myself.

Q. What can audiences expect from a Sue Foley show?

A. Good blues music, strong guitar playing, a powerful female in front who knows who she is and what she’s doing. We play acoustic and electric so there’s a lot of changes within the sound of the show. It has a nice arc.

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

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