This highly touted vocalist/guitarist originally hails from Ottawa, Canada, although her home base shifted to Austin, Texas, when she signed with Antone’s Records and cut her debut set, Young Girl Blues, in 1992 (an encore, Without a Warning, quickly followed). Foley’s wicked lead guitar makes her a rarity among blueswomen.
When she was a child in Ottawa, Foley listened to rock & roll and blues-rock groups like the Rolling Stones. Although these bands sowed the seeds of her affection for the blues, her love for the music didn’t blossom until she witnessed James Cotton in concert when she was 15 years old. Cotton inspired Foley to pick up the electric guitar. During her late teens and early twenties, she jammed with local Ottawa bar bands. She didn’t form her own group until she moved to Vancouver in the mid-’80s.
Foley sent a demo tape to Antone’s Records in 1990. Impressed, the label arranged an audition for the guitarist. Sue moved to Austin and soon signed a recording contract with Antone’s. In 1992, her debut album, Young Girl Blues, was released. It was acclaimed by a number of blues publications. Two years later she released her second album, Without a Warning. It was followed by Big City Blues in 1995. Subsequent efforts included 1996’s A Walk in the Sun, 1998’s Ten Days in November, and 2000’s Love Comin’ Down and Back to the Blues.
Where the Action Is appeared in 2002 on Shanachie Records. Foley then switched to Ruf Records for her next two albums, 2004’s Change and 2006’s New Used Car. In 2007 Foley released Time Bomb, a collaborative effort with fellow Ruf labelmates Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin. Foley moved to Blind Pig in 2010 for He Said She Said, a duet album with Peter Karp. The pair re-teamed in 2012 for Beyond the Crossroads. Foley returned to solo recordings in 2018 with The Ice Queen.