I was in Austin last week, and as usual whenever I visit, I spent my Tuesday evening at the Saxon Pub. I usually go to see David Grissom at 6pm and keep it an early night, and he didn’t disappoint. This time though I stuck around to watch Sue Foley‘s set and really dug it. It’s always a treat to get to be blown away by an artist whose name you were familiar with, but whose music you weren’t.
I loved the mix of country blues, featuring lots of Memphis Minnie and Blind Lemmon Jefferson songs. She had a great rhythm and feel for blues, and blended that natural, organic feel with a precision of technique. It wasn’t surgical or sterile, it was perhaps the precision of confidence. She killed it. Her voice is sultry and expressive and sang with an easy authority that delivered the music.
She played a nylon-string acoustic, her drummer played brushes, and the bassist played an acoustic, upright bass. It was a perfect complement to David Grissom’s electric guitar-heavy set.
Being inspired by the set I started digging into her catalog. I particularly like her album “The Ice Queen.”
If you’re a fan of great blues, played with honesty and love, steeped in tradition but played with modern relevance, check out https://suefoley.com/ – you won’t be disappointed.
I got Steve Lukather’s excellent autobiography “The Gospel According to Luke” for Christmas this year and just finished reading. It was quite entertaining, if a bit scattered. There are lots of funny behind-the-scenes stories from his life in the studio and on the road, and lots of crazy adventures with other musicians. One of the best was when Miles Davis showed up and got freaked out by a stuffed dog. I do wish there as a little more meat on the bones in terms of music, but I get that he has such a vast career it would be hard to go in depth with much. His discography – included at the end of the book – is absolutely mind-blowing.
I had never paid much attention to Toto. I knew the hits, but they were alway a softer, more polished band than I was into in the 80s & 90s. Listening with older, wiser ears, and reading about the ups and downs of the band has given me an opportunity to revisit.
In the book he talked about Hydra being their proggy album and that definitely caught my attention so I’ve been listening to that lately.
It’s a nice combination of catchy, poppy hooks, interesting rhythmic devices and songs that go beyond traditional “I love you fare. As expected, the songs are longer and more involved. Of course there’s killer playing all around and as a guitarist it’s cool to hear Luke kill it on every track. What I like about this album is the variety – Hydra, All Us Boys and White Sister absolutely rock. 99 and Mama are a little softer. Hydra and St. George certainly dip into prog territory. It’s tonally diverse and the production is top notch. I’m really digging it. If you overlooked Toto like I had, or only know them from “Rosanna” or “Africa,” give Hydra a shot.
I had a chance to get to Atlantic Sounds this week and picked up their first album on vinyl, and that’s been getting spins, too. What a great band. There are so many bands like this from decades ago that I somehow missed over my last 45 years. Colliseum, Uriah Heep… it’s hard enough to keep up with new bands and new releases but there’s such a gold mine of music from decades past. Regardless, I’m enjoying it and I’m going to be digging deeper into their catalog.