Pinky‘s Blues, the new album from award-winning blues guitarist/singer Sue Foley, features several Sue Foley originals, as well as songs from some of her favorite blues and roots artists. Released October 22, 2021 via Stony Plain Records, Pinky‘s Blues was recorded at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas. Joining Sue Foley (guitar, vocals) for the recording sessions were Chris “Whipper” Layton (drums), Jon Penner (bass), and Mike Flanigin (Hammond B3 organ), who also produced the album.
Foley shot videos for three songs from the new album with Tim Hardiman, who directed the latest Black Keys video. On the new song “Hurricane Girl,” the legendary Jimmie Vaughan joins as a special guest on rhythm guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhu_ePZ1z7k
Pinky’s Blues is the follow up to Sue Foley’s award-winning album, The Ice Queen (2018). Foley’s new album is a raw, electric guitar driven romp through the backroads of Texas blues, with Foley’s signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster, “Pinky,” at the wheel.
Foley won “Best Traditional Female (Koko Taylor Award)” at the 2020 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy), and she took home the award for “Best Guitar Player” at the Toronto Maple Blues Awards. For the last few years Foley and her band have kept a rigorous touring schedule across the USA, Canada and Europe. Some highlights were appearances at Love Rocks NYC (with Cyndi Lauper, Dave Mathews and Tedeschi Trucks) at The Beacon Theater (NYC), guesting with Jimmie Vaughan (opening for Eric Clapton) at Royal Albert Hall in London, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest (with Buddy Guy), Moulin Blues (Holland), NPR’s Mountain Stage (with Bela Fleck), and The Jungle Show (with Billy F Gibbons and Jimmie Vaughan) in Austin, Texas.
Foley and producer Mike Flanigin decided to make the album while they were off the road in 2020. “Mike, drummer Chris Layton and I had just finished making Mike’s album, West Texas Blues, and we needed another challenge to keep us busy,” Foley says. “And because we’d been hanging out together we were comfortable in each other’s presence, and this would be a very low-key closed session. I brought in Jon Penner to play bass, who was my first bass player and had been on all my early records. So just the four of us, along with engineer Chris Bell, went into the studio and recorded the entire album in three days.”
Some of the album‘s many highlights include her takes on classics such as Lavelle White’s “Stop These Teardrops,” Frankie Lee Sims‘ “Boogie Real Low” and Jimmy Donley’s “Think It Over,” alongside newer songs like Angela Strehli‘s “Two Bit Texas Town” and Foley’s own “Dallas Man.”
Foley considers her guitar, Pinky, a living extension of who she is and it helps guide her through the rambunctiously-deep renditions of everything she performs. The disc‘s first single, “Dallas Man,” bears special significance to Foley. “Dallas Man” is just about all these great guitar players from the Dallas area,” Foley says.
Leaving Canada as a young player, Foley knew she had to go where the music thrived. All her years in Austin, and including those when she left to learn new approaches to life, have all come together on Pinky‘s Blues. “The fact that I have ended up back in Austin just seems right,” Foley says. “My home is Canada and I definitely identify as a Canadian, but I had a yearning for this music and I can’t even put my finger on why or how. It got in my soul when I was a teenager. I saw my first blues show at 15 and I swear I’ve never been the same. I was lucky because I was able to play with so many legends before they passed away. That direct transmission is what it’s all about. I have the kind of experience and education that you can’t get anymore. In a way it’s a big responsibility to carry the message of these giants. But even more important, it‘s about finding your own voice within this framework. In blues, that takes time. The beauty of blues, and something I’ve always loved about it, is that you get better as you get older.”