On Stage Extra: Sue Foley rocks the Loft at City Winery

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Sue Foley

There will be no tricks but plenty of treats when Sue Foley, a Canadian guitarist, singer, songwriter and bandleader based in Austin, Texas, performs a show at The Loft at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, https://citywinery.com/philadelphia) on October 31.

It’s Halloween night but the only scary thing will be how well Foley plays electric guitar. It’s “scary good.”

Foley’s new CD, “Live in Austin, Vol. 1,” came out October 27 on Stony Plain Records and she immediately hit the road for a fall tour. She has seven more dates in the Northeast and then the rest of her shows through the end of April are in Texas. Fortunately, one of those seven shows is in Philly while another will be at the Elkton Music Hall (107 North Street, Elkton, Maryland, https://www.elktonmusichall.com) on November 2.
“I had never done an electric live album before,” said Foley, during a phone interview last week from her home in Austin. “I had been getting requests from fans for a long time.

“Recorded at the Continental Club in Austin, it has a great vibe.

“We knew we had to use the Continental Club. We’re very loyal to Steve (Wertheimer, owner of the Continental Club). “This is ‘Vol. 1,’ There will be a ‘Vol. 2’ with more roots stuff.”

Considering Foley has released 15 albums over the last 30 years, there is no dearth of material from which to choose.

“There is a good selection of songs — a career-spanning selection,” said Foley, who won the Juno Award for her CD, “Love Coming Down,” in 2001. “We go all the way back to ‘Young Girl Blues’ (Foley’s debut album in 1992). There was a lot of music to choose from.

“I’m usually about new songs. I tend to be really current. My most recent albums were ‘Pinky’s Blues’ in 2021 and ‘The Ice Queen’ in 2018.

“In my show now, I’m doing a lot from the new album – almost all of it. Some of the songs sound the way they were recorded over the years, and some have evolved. Also, I’ve aged – but I still have angst.”

Foley’s live shoes are energetic and powerful – just what you need for a live recording.

“We recorded two nights in a row at the Continental — four hours each night,” said Foley. “It’s a 45-minute ‘best of the best.’

“We were trying a lot of stuff. They were slightly different sets. We rehearsed a bunch of stuff. After listening to what was recorded, we picked what sounded best.”

Foley’s most recent studio album was “Pinky’s Blues,” which came out two years ago.

During the pandemic, Foley and organist Mike Flanigin entered Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas, with engineer Chris Bell, drummer Chris Layton, and bassist Jon Penner. They had just finished working an album by Flanigan and were comfortable enough with their social distancing to work in an otherwise closed studio.

“We recorded ‘Pinky’s Blues’ during the lockdown,” said Foley, won Best Traditional Female (Koko Taylor Award) at the 2020 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. “It came out after the lockdown, and we’ve been touring ever since.”

It seems as if Foley were born to be a musician – a travelling musician.

“My family was very musical,” said Foley who has earned seventeen Maple Blues Awards and three Trophees de Blues de France. “My father was a guitarist and my brother also played guitar.”

Foley was born in Ottawa, Ontario. She learned to play guitar at age 13, became interested in blues music from listening to the Rolling Stones, and played her first gig at age 16. After high school graduation, she relocated to Vancouver where she formed The Sue Foley Band and toured Canada.

“I started playing live a lot when I was living in Vancouver,” said Foley. “When I was 21, I moved to Austin.”

Foley signed with Antone’s Records in 1992 and recorded her first four albums for the legendary label – “Young Girl Blues,” “Without a Warning,” “Big City Blues” and “Walk in the Sun.”

“Antone’s was a big deal at the time,” said Foley, who has received several nominations at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. “Even in Canada, we were aware of what was going on in Austin.”

Over the years, Foley has also recorded albums for Shanachie, Ruf, Blind Pig and her current label, Stony Plain (the home of her last three releases.)

Video link for Sue Foley — https://youtu.be/bFak4Kp-Tks.

The show on October 31 at City Winery will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $32.

The show at Elkton Music Hall on November 2 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $38.21.

Halloween is a holiday about ghosts and other otherworldly sights.

Watching a veteran jazz saxophonist with almost 80 years of experience lead his band on stage is an otherworldly sight – and it’s happening this Halloween.

On October 31, Ars Nova Workshop is presenting Marshall Allen’s Ghost Horizons at Solar Myth (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, www.arsnovaworkshop.org).

The Halloween show at Solar Myth will showcase Sun Ra Arkestra maestro Marshall Allen’s with one of his bands — Ghost Horizons –alongside an all-star cast of musicians.

On May 24, 2023, Allen turned 99.

After almost a full century on the planet, Allen remains a vital force – an imaginative spirit who has been with jazz since its infancy.

He was a driving force in the Sun Ra Arkestra for more than 60 years. Allen has been the Arkestra’s leader since 1995.

Allen’s main instruments are alto saxophone and Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI).

The long list of instruments Allen has mastered includes oboe, flute, piccolo, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, baritone, three or four altos, soprano and clarinet.

Halloween’s Ghost Horizon will feature the vibrations of a different dark sound magik. Costumes welcomed.

Video link for Marshall Allen — https://youtu.be/GdTR-fiLfwQ.

The show at Solar Myth on October 31 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30.

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