Sue Foley Announces New One Guitar Woman Album And Releases First Single – Elizabeth Cotten’s “Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie”

Article Contributed by Mark Pucci Media | Published on Friday, May 24, 2024

Prepare for a captivating musical journey with ONE GUITAR WOMAN, Sue Foley’s new solo acoustic tribute to female pioneers of guitar. Foley’s much-anticipated album drops on Stony Plain Records on Friday, March 29th. The two current radio singles, Elizabeth Cotten’s “Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie” and “Maybelle’s Guitar,” Sue’s original homage to country music matriarch Maybelle Carter, offer a glimpse into the depth and variety of the song and style selections. The twelve inspiring tracks of this album also honor the hard-driving Memphis Minnie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, French classical guitarist Ida Presti, Tejano sensation Lydia Mendoza, the often-underrated Charo, and lesser-known but equally compelling Southern blues women Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas. Foley not only chose songs associated with each of the artists (apart from the Maybelle Carter selection, which she wrote herself), but she also covered a wide range of styles and techniques, including Piedmont fingerpicking, Flamenco, classical, the Carter Scratch, and more.

As writer Meghan Roos notes in her Blues Rock Review interview, “ONE GUITAR WOMAN comes together as a careful and creative study of several women who influenced generations of guitar players. The challenges Foley embraced in mastering each artist’s unique playing style also give the album real stakes by pushing it beyond what most tribute albums try to achieve.”

True to the album title, Foley performs all the tracks on a single acoustic guitar, a nylon-string Flamenco guitar that she bought from a master luthier on a 2022 excursion to Paracho, Mexico. Sue notes in a recent Vintage Guitar interview that she chose the Flamenco guitar over a standard classical guitar because she could play it a little harder: “I wanted a flamenco because you can beat them up a little bit more than the classicals — classicals are very resonant and pristine, but a flamenco is a little more utilitarian. I needed something with a little more grit, and I decided on a beautiful Flamenca Negra from Salvador Castillo.” The audiophile-quality album was produced by Mike Flanigin, recorded by Chris Bell at Blue Rock Studios in Austin, and mastered to Dolby Atmos Surround Sound at Abbey Road Studios in London.

ONE GUITAR WOMAN is more than a tribute album. Foley doesn’t merely cover these artists’ songs; she absorbs their style and inhabits the soul of the music. Her guitar work is so deep and natural that it seems to rise from the same roots that gave birth to the originals, while her vibrant vocals bring new life to the lyrics and make the songs her own. Esteemed music writer Hal Horowitz notes in Rock & Blues Muse, “Most impressive is Foley’s compelling voice, always expressive even with the amps turned up to 10, but even more so here. She finds empathy with these women writers in her soulful interpretations of their lyrics, which wouldn’t have as much ache and clout if sung by a man.”

ONE GUITAR WOMAN was a voyage of self-discovery for Foley. As she says in the final words of her liner notes: “There’s something that transformed in me when I started to research these female pioneers of guitar. Knowing that they had persevered through decades of challenges and trials so that my trials were lessened has taught me humility, and having a clear understanding of their accomplishments makes me want to reach higher in my own career. They forged the path for all female guitarists, leaving us not just the trail, but a map of directions and the wisdom to navigate it.

Sue Foley has released thirteen albums and won many awards, including the Blues Music Award for Traditional Female Artist of the Year, which she has won three consecutive times; she is once again nominated in this category for 2024.

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