Blues singer/guitarist Sue Foley (Promotional photo).

CONCERT PREVIEW: Juno Award-winning blues artist Sue Foley breaks barriers for female musicians

She performs Thursday, Nov. 8, in Red Deer

With folk music finding new-born popularity with millennials, Sue Foley feels blues music could be the next cool thing for young listeners.

Juno Award-winning artist Foley grew up in the 1970s entranced by The Rolling Stones and their American inspired blues riffs. She’s noticed younger musicians, including Jack White and The Black Keys, are now turning new generations on to a musical form that goes back a century to the Mississippi Delta.

The Ottawa native, who lives in Texas, will be at Red Deer’s The Krossing on Thursday, performing selections from her latest CD, The Ice Queen.

While Foley holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards (17), last week it was announced she leads with six nominations this year for the new album, which includes contributions from many noted Texan musicians, including Charlie Sexton, Jimmie Vaughan and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.

Considering it’s her first solo recording in a decade, Foley is pleased The Ice Queen was No. 1 on the Canadian Folk/Roots/Blues Chart for more than 10 weeks and is still in the Top 20 since being released in March.

She’s getting praise for its eclectic blues tunes, including a cool vibe on Gaslight, some honky-tonk on The Lucky One, and the sultry sound of the title track.

“I like that, musically, it’s all over the map,” said Foley, who sees the CD, thematically, as a winter album that lends itself “to this time of year when it starts to get dark.”

The singer/guitarist, who’s shared stages with BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty over the years, started her professional career at age 16 in Alberta.

Even though she has spent much of her career in Texas, she said she always looks forward to returning to play for local audiences who’ve been well versed by CKUA Radio and host Holgar Peterson.

“Canada has a vibrant blues scene,” said Foley, who sees many young women in her audience these days. It makes sense since she has helped break down gender barriers in music through her Guitar Woman series of articles and concert series featuring great female guitarists.

Foley admitted it took her time to be accepted as a lead guitarist — at first, she would be confused with the rhythm guitarist or just the vocalist by audiences.

“It’s been a male-dominated field, but now I see a lot more women at my shows… I think they like seeing a powerful woman playing an instrument.”

For more information about the show, please contact the venue.

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lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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