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Sue Foley returns to Austin

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Fire Station records building.
Fire Station records building.

Photo by Chelsea Yohn | Staff Photographer

What is red, Canadian, and sings the blues all over? Sue Foley, the acclaimed blues singer, is who.

Sue Foley may have Canadian roots, but when it comes to Austin’s blues scene she is a popular local. She has returned to Austin to launch the tour of her new album, “The Ice Queen.” The album was recorded at San Marcos’ own Fire Station Studios, where her career began.

“I was playing up here and was always into Texas blues,” Foley said. “I ended up meeting Clifford Antone, of the famous Austin nightclub Antone’s. He invited me to Austin to record and I ended up moving down here (to be) an Austin-based artist for almost a decade.”

Foley has been singing and performing the blues for over 20 years, and said that she got into the blues because it is the basic foundation for all American music.

“When I got into blues, I did not realize I had been listening to it the whole time,” Foley said. “I… fell in love with it; it was like a thump on the head. I could not do anything else. There was never any other genre of choice for me.”

Foley said she has collaborated with many other great blues artists to create this album like Jimmie Vaughan, ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons, and Charlie Sexton. Chris Bell, Fire Station Studio staff engineer, said the large studio room was the perfect place to allow these stars to play in the same space.

“We wanted to do the record with everyone in the same room together, it is the right way to do a record,” Bell said. “We had everybody out. Jimmie’s guitar, Sue’s guitar, the trumpets — all performing together.”

Space was not the only reason for choosing Fire Station to record. A part of Foley’s first album, Young Girl Blues, was recorded there back in 1992. Bell said that they wanted to bring her back to where it all began.

“She had been in a bad relationship so she had stopped making music for a while,” Bell said. “Something they wanted to do with this album was to bring her back to her beginnings.”

Six years have passed since Foley released her last album, “Beyond The Crossroads”. Her new album is one that pays homage to her background.

“We decided to call the album “The Ice Queen” because it represents my Canadian heritage,” Foley said. “We also tied it into Texas blues because I recorded it down in Texas. So I have these two bases that I keep, I have a foot in both countries.”

Karin Johnson, Foley’s publicist, said those feet of hers have been busy, as she is passionately working toward her March 2 album release.

“She is a great woman to work with,” Johnson said. “‘The Ice Queen’ represents her commitment to her craft.”

Foley has three upcoming performances in Austin to kick off the release of her new album. She will be having a CD release show March 1 at Antone’s off Fifth Street in Austin, where she will be joined by Jimmie Vaughan. Foley will also have an acoustic performance at the Cactus Cafe March 2 and an in-store performance March 4 at Waterloo Records.

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