Sue Foley

Love Comin' Down

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Sue Foley just keeps getting better. On her sixth album, the singer/songwriter and guitarist turns in a diverse set of blues (a slow and mournful version of Willie Dixon's "The Same Thing"); Stax-styled, horn-fueled R&B ("To Be Next to You"); New Orleans party rockin' (an obscure Freddie King cover of "You're Barkin' Up the Wrong Tree"); and even a spooky, flamenco-influenced spaghetti Western instrumental ("Mediterranean Breakfast") -- and it all surprisingly gels into a consistently satisfying album. Foley's distinctive voice -- part Bonnie Raitt, part Bessie Smith, part Memphis Minnie -- has evolved and matured, tearing and tugging at the edges, flawlessly complementing these lovelorn songs. There's an airy, effortless, and unhurried (but not laid-back) quality on Love Comin' Down, likely motivated by recording in the Tragically Hip's cushy home studio, and Foley's performances here take on a bluesy edginess, best exemplified by the acoustic tracks "Let My Tears Fall Down" and the album-closing "How Strong," where she sighs and cries with a unnerving poignancy. As producer, fellow Canadian blues-rocker Colin Linden leaves breathing room for Foley's biting, snakelike guitar and heartfelt vocals, while bolstering the tunes with subtle horns and swampy, understated drums. Lucinda Williams' dramatic vocals are impressive on "Empty Cup," but it's Linden's spine-chilling Dobro and Foley's menacing guitar that stand out. With a rugged and uncompromising style, and a smooth yet earthy and wholly assured approach, Sue Foley dexterously treads the line between commercial and rootsy, and in the process creates her most eclectic -- and best -- album.

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