Her 10th CD, New Used Car only proves that this blues guitar woman is only picking up speed. Foley's trademark vocals and her renowned guitar playing skills highlight an upbeat and vibrant CD that not only showcases an artist with an incredible history but also one who continues to gain momentum as the wheels keep turning.
Like the titular automobile, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Sue Foley is dependable, road-tested, and economical. Through sheer tenacity, the Canadian has become an experienced and respected veteran in the limited but fertile genre of female blues-guitar-slinging bandleaders. On her tenth album, Foley finds a cruising lane between her tougher early work and a slicker, more R&B-influenced sound. She sticks to her blues background while shifting gears to a moderately more commercially oriented soulful approach that should appeal to old fans and create some new ones. With an instantly recognizable voice that can be sweet one moment and biting the next, Foley shows that being fashionable and rootsy aren't mutually exclusive. She's as comfortable with a Stonesy "Beast of Burden"-styled ballad such as "Do It Again" as digging her wheels into the album's high-drama, torchy showpiece "Absolution." While not all of the material--eleven of these tracks are written or co-penned by Foley--is up to those standards, her malleable voice, tough yet tender spirit, and subtle but sure guitar find the guts in even the less stellar tunes. The evocative front cover shows a glamorous Foley staring down the listener with an expression of steely resolve. It's a similar mixture of grace and danger that fuels this album, where she hugs the curves of the blues while careening around the corners of rock and soul. --Hal Horowitz