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Sue Foley Deborah Coleman Roxanne Potvin Interview
"Time Bomb Interview"
By Bob Putignano

Deborah Coleman is an extremely strong Blues guitarist and a very good songwriter and singer. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Coleman began to play professionally at fifteen. She got her Blues musicianship together as part of an R&B trio, gigging locally. Coleman's debut, Takin' A Stand, was released in 1995 on New Moon records and she followed it up two years later with I Can't Lose, her first for Blind Pig. Always a dynamite live performer, Coleman released her last disk for Blind Pig the 2002, Soul Be It, which beautifully captured the raw energy of Coleman's near-legendary live performances. Coleman switched to Telarc Records for her latest solo recording, 2004's What About Love. In 2001 Coleman won the Orville Gibson Award for "Best Blues Guitarist, Female," and in that very same year she was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award (now the Blues Music Awards) for the fourth time.

Sue Foley currently resides in Ottawa, Canada, but spent time honing her chops in Austin, Texas, where she signed with Antone's Records and cut her debut recording, Young Girl Blues, in 1992, which was quickly followed by Without a Warning. In 1998 Foley signed on to the Shanachie label and recorded three strong disks, the first of which was particularly riveting, Ten Days in November, followed by the 2000 CD release, Love Comin' Down, and last but not least Foley closed out her relationship with Shanachie with the radio friendly Where the Action Is in 2002. It could be said that Sue Foley's period with Shanachie Records was her most fruitful, as she received very strong reviews from critics and many of those recordings are considered her most artistically creative projects. For her next two albums Foley moved to Ruf Records, the 2004 live Change and 2006's New Used Car. One could easily say that Foley possesses a ripping wicked guitar style that makes her standout amongst many of her rocking Blues peers.

Newcomer Roxanne Potvin is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who met Sue Foley in Ottawa's Hull area while jamming around that Ontario/Quebec Blues scene. It should be mentioned that it was Sue Foley who was influential in getting Potvin signed to Ruf Records and Potvin's The Way it Feels was released in Canada. Many months later Ruf decided to release Potvin's inaugural Ruf release in the United States. Considering her young age, Roxanne Potvin owns a fairly strong set of vocal chops and she covers a nice mix of Soul and Blues as well as her own compositions.

In 2007 Ruf released Time Bomb, a collaborative effort from labelmates Deborah Coleman, Sue Foley, and Roxanne Potvin. I recently caught up with Foley, Coleman, and Potvin during a live, on-air broadcast of the Sounds of Blues radio program on Teaneck, New Jersey's WFDU. Deborah Coleman: Hi Bob, Yes, we are starting out in Albany, New York, tonight.

BW: How did this Time Bomb project come about?

DC: I would like to turn that over to Sue who can better explain that.

Sue Foley: Thomas Ruf, the owner of Ruf Records, wanted to do a tour of three women guitar players and I had worked with Thomas several years ago previously so we had already established a relationship doing the Blues Caravan in Europe, which is where we started to brainstorm about Time Bomb back then, waiting for the pieces to fall into place. We also put out the Blues Guitar Woman piece that I put together for Thomas, so this was kind of, sort of the same theme. Roxanne I knew from Canada and we brought Deborah aboard to Ruf and they started a relationship, plus this is the first time three guitar women have been out on the road like this.

BW: Sue, you are not a stranger to these parts of the Northeast?

SF: No, I live pretty close to here in Ottawa, Ontario, so I like getting down to the New York area as often as I can.

BW: This is truly a well produced recording, which had to take a little while putting together, how long did you spend in the studio recording this?

SF: We spent five full days recording Time Bomb.

BW: Roxane, you are the newcomer here and you have your own solo record out in the states now for Ruf, tell me a little about your past?

SF: A very sordid past. [everyone laughs]

Roxanne Potvin: Next question, just kidding. I started out in Ottawa going to the Blues jams, I actually grew up on the French side of town in Hull, Quebec, which is right next to Ottawa, but as I was going to the Rainbow regularly for open jams when I was eighteen or nineteen, which is how I met Sue. And the next thing I knew I got a band together and got rolling from there. Now I live in Toronto.

BW: And the rest of the members of the band, we don't want to leave these guys out?

SF: On the bass we have New Jersey's own Michael Griot from Michael Hill's Blues Mob, plus another ex-Blues Mob member on keyboards, E.J. Sharp, who is a New Yorker. And yet one more Michael Hill Blues Mob musician from Brooklyn, drummer Bill McClellan, who is also part of the Blues Caravan.

BW: Thanks, that covers everyone in the band. Congrats on the new CD, which I see is charting extremely well all over the country and getting a lot of lengthy support and airplay.

SF: Thank you, we are really looking forward to getting out on the road now, too!

BW: Thank you ladies, best wishes with your tour, continued success with Time Bomb, and I hope to see you all back here soon.

Bob Putignano is a contributing editor at BluesWax. You may contact Bob at: bob8003@yahoo.com web site: http://www.SoundsofBlue.com

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com