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Blues great Sue Foley among dozens of artists at Junofest

Delhi News-Record 2019-03-14 01:28:08

Don’t mistake the album’s title, The Ice Queen, as a statement on Sue Foley’s character.

The album’s title pays tribute to the man who had the biggest influence on Foley’s guitar playing, Albert (The Ice Man) Collins.

Nominated for the blues album of the year Juno award, Foley is bringing her Telecaster and new album to London Music Club Saturday as part of the two-day Junofest that will see dozens of performers, including many Juno nominees, into venues across the city where last call is 4 a.m. Thursday through Sunday for those wearing wrist bands.

“I’m not an ice queen,” said Foley in a telephone interview from her Austin, Texas, home, with a chuckle. “That’s not what I’m about.”

Foley is one the most awarded blues artists in the country, winning 18 Maple Blues awards, the most by one musician, including this year’s guitarist of the year. She also was nominated this year for songwriter, female vocalist, entertainer of the year and electric act of the year. Colin James dominated the Maple Blues awards, winning songwriter, entertainer, electric act, male vocalist and record/producer of the year for his album, Miles to Go, which is nominated for a Juno.

There are 18 venues for Junofest, each hosting three or more artists – at least 20 with Juno nominations – the majority of the performers are either up-and-coming talents, or past Juno winners and nominees.

Among the major artists who’ll be on stages around the city are Jully Black, Canada’s Queen of Soul, The Trews, Jim Cuddy Family Band, Julian Taylor Band, Exco Levi and The Washboard Union. Visit the website, junoawards.ca, for a schedule of Junofest performers.

The balance of performers are local artists, hoping to meet new fans or draw interest from music industry people who will be looking for new talent.

Foley, well into her third decade as a blues artist, last won a Juno in 2001 for the album Love Comin’ Down, and has two other nominations including most promising female vocalist in 1993 and blue/gospel album of the year in 1996. She also has won blues awards in France and nominations in the U.S.

“I haven’t been to London in years. I’m looking forward to it,” said Foley who started playing the blues when she was 15, inspired by the Rolling Stones, and started playing professionally as soon as she graduated from high school.

Foley plays a signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster and has shared the stage with such legends as the late B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty.

“The Junos are a celebration of Canadian music and I think it’s great Canadians have a sense of national pride when it comes to their own artists. When people in other parts of the world ask about the Junos, I say the Junos are the Canadian Grammys and people are excited for me.”

Foley said she’s “proud” of her new album.

“I’m proud of the writing on this album,” said Foley. “It’s got an individual flavour, a story, and that’s not easy to do because we all stand on the shoulders of out heroes, so it’s really hard to do.”

She said Ice Queen is not just a nod to Collins, but is an acknowledgement of her Canadian roots in the north that “establishes who I am.”

Foley moved to Austin when she was 21, invited by a record producer and owner of Antone’s the blues label and historic nightclub where Collins often played before his death in 1993.

“Collins taught me the value of one note,” said Foley, adding she got to sit in with her hero once.

Guest artists on The Ice Queen include Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Jimmie Vaughan, older brother of Stevie Ray, who also calls Austin home and whose heroes include Collins, Freddie King and B.B. King.

Now 50, Foley said “I’m really comfortable in my skin.”

“I feel pretty lucky and blessed. I work hard. I like what I do on this journey. I feel like I have a lot more to give. Blues musicians go a long way. We don’t stop. We honour our heroes and keep the music alive. I’ll never be as good as my heroes, but I’ll keep on trying.”

E-mail: jbelanger@postmedia.com | Twitter: @JoeBatLFPress

JUNO WEEK SCHEDULE

Thursday, March 14

q – Live at the Junos, 7 p.m., London Music Hall, 185 Dundas St.; tickets: $27.30, $20.10. Available at CBC.ca/q

Juno Cup Jam, featuring Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and guests, 8 p.m., Run Runners, 176 Dundas St.; tickets: $22.60 including HST (plus fees) at ticketmaster.ca

Music + Video Game Collision conference, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; DoubleTree by Hilton ballroom, 300 King St.; tickets: general admission: $35, students $20

Friday, March 15

Fanshawe Live: Dundas Place: Fanshawe College, downtown campus, noon-6 p.m.

Junofest Christian Music Showcase, featuring performances by musicians nominated the Christian/gospel album of the year category, 7 p.m., Gateway Church, 890 Sarnia Rd.; tickets: $15

Juno Comedy Show, featuring comedy album nominees Chanty Marostica, Dave Merheje, Mayce Galoni and Pat Thornton, 7 p.m., London Music Hall, 185 Queens Ave.; tickets: $27.50 (available at London Music Hall or www.londonmusichall.com or calling Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-5000)

Juno Cup, with music stars led by Cuddy taking on NHL alumni, 7:30 p.m., Western Fair Sports Centre; tickets: $20 (or $15 when bought in packages of 10 or more) available at budweisergardens.com

Juno Fest, 9 p.m., various locations; $30 wristband gives entry to all performances

Saturday, March 16

Junior Junos, 10:30 a.m., Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library, 251 Dundas St.; individual tickets to Junior Junos are priced at $9.04 for children and $22.60 for adults, family passes available at $45.20 and can be purchased at eventbrite.ca.

Juno Fan Fare, and selfie fest, noon-2 p.m., free, at Centre Court, CF Masonville Place

Juno exhibit, noon-5 p.m., with the Woodshed Series Concert at 2 p.m.; London Music Hall of Fame, 182 Dundas St.

Juno Stories from the Studio, featuring some of Canada’s most accomplished recording engineers and producers, 12:30-2 p.m., Fanshawe College, 130 Dundas St.; tickets: $15

Juno Fest, 9 p.m., various locations; $30 wristband gives entry to all performances

Sunday, March 17

Juno Songwriters’ Circle, featuring David Foster, Dan Mangan, Elisapie, Laila Biali, Meghan Patrick and Tyler Shaw, co-hosted by Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle and CBC Radio’s q host Tom Power, noon; Centennial Hall; tickets: $49.50

Juno Awards, featuring performances by Arkells, Bahamas, bülow, Coeur De Pirate with Loud Loud Luxury, Jeremy Dutcher, Blake Pouliot, NAV, The Reklaws, the 2019 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Corey Hart, a special performance from Europe by Shawn Mendes and a performance by host Sarah McLachlan, 8 p.m.; Budweiser Gardens; tickets: $82.95 – $202.95, available at the box office, online at budweisergardens.com, or by phone at 1-866-455-2849.