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In a career spanning nearly 40 years, guitarist Joel Foy has followed a lifelong musical path that started at age nine when he began playing trumpet in his school band. By the age of fourteen, he’d added guitar and trombone to his musical roster as the British Music invasion began dominating the pop music industry. While friends bought electric guitars and formed bands of their own, he began teaching himself guitar on an old Regal his father owned. While still playing trumpet in his Junior High School band, he went to see the then new film release In the Heat of the Night, not realizing that Quincy Jones had written and Ray Charles performed the soundtrack to the movie. The sultry gospel and soul sounds made an impression that has never left him. Within a year he was playing guitar with a variety of bands in the Pacific Northwest, working small clubs and school parties. He began playing guitar professionally at age sixteen, and has toured throughout much of the world in the years since, working in a variety of settings from Soul and R&B, to West Coast Jump, Chicago Blues, and solo Pre-War Piedmont, Texas, and Delta Blues. Early gigs included stints with West Coast piano legend Floyd Dixon, and Pacific Northwest Soul belter and harp man Curtis Salgado, a collaboration that lasted three years. Since those early days, his tastes and influences have grown to include countless blues, jazz, and roots artists from Blind Blake to Buddy Guy, Cornell Dupree, Hank Williams, Charlie Christian and Bill Jennings.
In 1985, he moved to Southern California and began a two-year association with the late West Coast harmonica legend William Clarke. He played on Clarke's W.C. Handy Award nominated Tip of the Top and Rockin' the Boat albums. From 1987 to 1988 he held down the guitar spot in Screamin' Jay Hawkins' Chicken-hawks band, touring extensively in Northern Europe and recording a live CD, Live and Crazy in Paris in the summer of 1988. Upon his return from the 1988 Screamin' Jay Hawkins European tour, Joel commenced a four year association with the James Harman Band, during which time the critically acclaimed 1991 CD Do Not Disturb was recorded and released on Black Top. The raucous I Declare from this CD was singled out for inclusion on the Black Top release Blues Guitar Spotlight.
During his many years of club and festival dates both here and abroad, Joel Foy, who now resides in Dallas, Texas, has worked and shared the stage with a variety of artists including former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, Floyd Dixon, Luther Tucker, Smokey Wilson, Lowell Fulson, Kim Wilson, Duke Robillard, “Barrelhouse Chuck” Goering, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Dyer, Boz Scaggs, Papa John Creach, Rod Piazza, Christian Dozzler, Buddy Ace, Mark Hummel, Billy Sheets, Mitch Woods, Lazy Lester, Ronnie Earl, Charley Baty, Rick Estrin, Mitch Kashmar, John Hammond Jr., Dave Meyers, Champion Jack Dupree, and Duke Jethro, among others. In 2006 Chicago blues piano ace “Barrelhouse” Chuck Goering called on Joel to join him and Fabulous Thunderbirds front man Kim Wilson in the recording of his critically acclaimed Got My Eyes on You CD on The Sirens label. He returned to Chicago later that year to perform with Chuck at the 2006 Chicago Blues Festival and has since traveled to Bellinzona Italy for a appearance in July of 2010 with West Coast harmonica ace San Pedro Slim at the prestigious Piazza Blues Festival, recipient of The Blues Foundation’s 2010 Keeping The Blues Alive award.
Since his arrival in Dallas in 2004, Joel has appeared in venues all over the metroplex both as a soloist, with his combos the Blue Royals and The Zydeco Royals and with the piano-based Christian Dozzler Trio. He’s regarded as one of the top traditional acoustic finger style guitarists in Dallas and also enjoys an international reputation as one of the top performers of electric blues today. He maintains a busy schedule of entertaining and teaching and produced and hosted for three years running the Robert Johnson Dallas Sessions Guitar Festival, a multi-level show and competition held in June in Dallas to commemorate the 1937 Dallas recording sessions of the legendary delta bluesman. His solo show is based on a rich musical heritage of classic Americana from ragtime to rock & roll that includes everyone from Hank Williams and Charlie Rich to Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. For more information visit www.myspace.com/iceboyblues/
What others say………………………….
“Joel Foy is one of the top dogs out there. He plays with fire and an original approach to traditional music that keeps both feet firmly planted in the blues."
Kim Wilson-The Fabulous Thunderbirds
“Joel Foy is one of the finest blues musicians in the country with knowledge, taste and a whole lot of soul."
"... technically tremendous playing... he really burned."
Jim Washburn -The Los Angeles Times
"... worth attending for Foy's guitar work alone. Foy's fingers seem to contain an infinite variety of unique, intriguing licks which he delivers with seemingly little effort."
"An excellent guitarist."
The Kansas City Star
“Joel Foy is a monster………………………………….”
Chuck Nevitt – Dallas Blues Society