To recognize musicians from outside of Edmonton who have made
(b. 1968, Ottawa, Ontario)
In the late 1980s, a number of exciting women guitar players working in the blues genre emerged including Debbie Davis, Deborah Coleman and Joanna Connor, lead by the great Bonnie Raitt. Among this group of strong and proficient blues guitarists, one in particular surfaced out of Canada, that being Sue Foley. Sue was born in Ottawa, Ontario on March 29, 1968 and began playing guitar at age 13. Sue Foley’s early influences were the Rolling Stones, T-Bone Walker, and Memphis Minnie. Sue comes out of a strong tradition of women who played acoustic or electric guitar. In addition to Memphis Minnie (which Sue has covered so well on Me and My Chauffeur), this list would have to include Elizabeth Cotton, Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Peggy Jones (aka Lady Bo), Jessie Mae Hemphill, Barbara Lynn, Precious Bryant, and Beverly “Guitar” Watson.
In the eighties, Sue began touring across Canada when she met up with a young harmonica player from California named Mark Hummel. One of those illustrious stops was the Blues on Whyte, where Edmonton audiences had their first exposure to this young woman’s amazing talent as a singer and an electrifying guitar-player, on her trademark pink paisley Telecaster. Sue toured with Mark Hummel across the US and Canada and eventually toured Europe, where to this day, Sue has a very strong fan base and a full tour schedule. In 1989, through her association with Duke Robillard, Sue connected with Clifford Antone, the major force in the Austin, Texas blues scene that was centered around Antone’s blues club and Antone’s Records. Sue sent him a tape of her work, and Clifford signed her up with Antone’s Records, on which Sue released four successful albums.
Sue’s connection with Edmonton can be traced back to those early days at Blues on Whyte in the late eighties and early nineties, and subsequent invitations to perform at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2000 and the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2003. She has also generously contributed her time to the S.I.R.E.N.S. fundraisers in Edmonton, as recently as 2016. Sue has a strong and lasting relationship with numerous Edmonton first-call blues musicians such as Graham Guest , Grant Stovel, and Chris Brzezicki, as they not only back her up in Edmonton and western Canada tours, but Graham Guest has had the opportunity to do major tours with Sue across the US and Europe. An excellent example is the DVD Sue Foley: Live in Europe 2006 on Ruf Records where we see Graham Guest in full support on keys. Sue has released three albums with Ruf Records to much acclaim.
Sue Foley has a very distinguished career that is best exemplified by her winning a record 17 Maple Blues Awards, three prestigious Trophées De Blues De France and a Canadian Juno Award in 2001 for Best Blues Album of the Year, as well as numerous nominations. She teamed up with Peter Karp (who has played the Blues on Whyte as a solo act) to record the highly acclaimed album He Said She Said which launched them on major tour around the world.
Sue is also an assistant professor of music at a college in North Carolina, and is known for Guitar Woman, an ongoing project to interview “her heroines of guitar”.
Sue Foley continues to tour the world, and promote her recent release Ice Queen. She most recently performed here at the Danlyn Studios where The Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame Foundation was extremely pleased and proud to induct Sue Foley into the Legends Category of the Edmonton Blues Hall of Fame for 2017.