Sue Foley brings her blues back to Austin, and more new local records
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Sue Foley, “Pinky’s Blues” (Stony Plain). Now fully entrenched in her second go-round as an Austin blues musician, Canada native Foley follows her 2018 album “Ice Queen” with this mix of originals and covers that highlights both her masterful guitar playing and her spirited vocal delivery.
Recorded at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, “Pinky’s Blues” (named for her guitar sporting that distinctive color) features mostly straightforward blues trio arrangements, with former Stevie Ray Vaughan bandmate Chris Layton on drums and Jon Penner on bass. Mike Flanigin, who produced the album, adds B3 organ on a couple of tracks, and guitar great Jimmie Vaughan sits in on “Hurricane Girl.”
Foley, who first moved to Austin in the 1990s and made several albums for Antone’s Records before heading back to Canada, returned here a few years ago. The non-original tracks on “Pinky’s Blues” include some intriguing choices that reflect her Austin ties: Foley tackles two tunes written by former Antone’s mainstay Angela Strehli, plus one by 92-year-old local singer Lavelle White.
Playing Dec. 17 at Mercer Street Dancehall in Dripping Springs. Here’s the video for “Hurricane Girl”:
Hank Erwin, “The Copper Album.” A former member of the Merchant Marines, local country-folk-rock troubadour Erwin recorded these dozen original songs at a studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with a band that included former Drive-By Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker and two former members of the late Austin songwriter Chris Porter’s band Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, Adam Nurre and Daniel Stoddard. Release show Oct. 22 at Sagebrush. Here’s the video for “Altana”:
Ben Balmer, “Honky-Tonk Macbeth.” If the album title suggests a more esoteric twist on Americana music, that’s fairly fitting for the inventive, left-of-center rootsiness of these 11 tracks co-produced by Balmer and engineer Justin Douglas at local studios King Electric and Same Sky. Contributing musicians include guitarist Cat Clemons, pianist Micah Motenko and fiddler Eric Dickerson, with bassist Josh Flowers and drummer Aaron Parks anchoring the rhythm section. Playing Oct. 23 at Craft Pride. Here’s a recent live version of the title track:
OCT. 29: Natalie Jane Hill, “Solely” (Dear Life)
NOV. 5: Matt the Electrician, “We Imagined an Ending,” release show Nov. 6 at 04 Center
NOV. 12: Jenn Hartmann Luck, “Raise Your Voices (Songs Celebrating the Kids Who Are Changing the World)," release show Nov. 14 at the Thinkery
NOV. 19: Willie Nelson Family, self-titled (Legacy)
NOV. 19: Wade Bowen, “Where Phones Don’t Work” EP
NOVEMBER: Walter Daniels & the Del Valle Trustees, “Have a Coffee Break With”
DEC. 2: Rick Furst, “The Riddle”
DEC. 3: Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “The Light Saw Me” (Thirty Tigers)
DEC. 3: Nori, self-titled
JAN. 14: Jamestown Revival, “Young Man” (Thirty Tigers)
JAN. 21: Whitmore Sisters, “Ghost Stories” (Red House)