Where the Action Is

Sue Foley

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Where the Action Is Review

by Hal Horowitz

Sue Foley's seventh studio album in a decade successfully follows on the heels of 2000's terrific Love Comin' Down. Less atmospheric and harder rocking, Foley writes or co-writes all but three tracks, and proves herself as talented a composer as singer and guitar slinger. There's a bit of a Sheryl Crow feel to lots of this, but Foley stays locked in a blues vein, even on the more melodic rockers like "Baby Where Are You," "Get Yourself Together," and the mid-tempo title track. Colin Linden's hands-off production lets the songs breath, and the singer sounds loose, relaxed, and in control throughout, especially on ballads like the emotional "Let It Go." "Vertigo Blues" wades into primitive and swampy Creedence waters, aided by the album's only bass-less backing, featuring Linden on eerie, slithering slide and Bryan Owings' dark, pounding drums. A lumbering stab at the Stones' "Stupid Girl" sounds too self-conscious, but versions of Etta James' sexy "Roll With Me Henry" and an acoustic version of the obscure traditional Delta tune "Down the Big Road Blues" (best known from a version by Mattie Delaney) prove that Foley can be simultaneously sensuous and tough. Veteran backing musicians like Wilco's Ken Coomer and keyboardist Richard Bell never hog the spotlight, keeping the attention on the songs and Foley's short but stinging leads. Although she's not taking many chances, those who are already fans of the Canadian blues-rocker will be thrilled to add this rugged release to their collections, and newcomers can effectively begin theirs here.

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