Sue Foley's ability to combine roadhouse raunch with a sensitive feel for nuance and phrasing brings a welcome multidimensionality to her blues guitar playing. Her voice tends to be thin, sometimes detracting from the intensity of her music, but she excels on country romps (Memphis Minnie's "Me and My Chaffeur Blues" and her own "Walkin' Home"), and she can provide masterful guitar workouts of taste and maturity far beyond her years on instrumentals such as Earl Hooker's "Off The Hook." Like Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block, Foley is especially effective on ballads and slow blues; her own "Gone Blind," off her recent LP on the Antone's label, is one of the most starkly moving blues I've heard in quite a while. On it, Foley's voice achieves a chilling sense of desolate yearning, and despite the song's undercurrent of tender vulnerability she plays it with an almost terrifying ferocity, bending strings as if she's tearing pieces out of her own heart. Saturday, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jeff Rowe.