Sue Foley interviews the legendary Carol Kaye

A great (brief) interview with the legendary Carole Kaye over at  Kaye began her career as a jazz guitarists, but became perhaps most well know for her work as a bass player and member of The Wrecking Crew, an LA-based collective of session musicians, who played on hundreds of Top 40 hits during the 1960s and 1970s.

The article can be found here; Kaye, circa 1955

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe (finally) inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame – October 2018

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International Guitar Research Centre’s Jazz Guitar Research Day – October 2018

A great one-day research seminar at the University of Surrey’s International Guitar Research Centre in October. Was happy to be asked to present a paper on the playing style of Mary Osborne, perhaps the only female to gain commercial success as a jazz guitarist in the late swing and be-bop era.IMG_2354 (1)

Osborne was a highly-skilled and versatile player, playing in big bands and small combos, and working extensively on radio and television in the 1940s and 1950s.

Her playing on ‘Spotlite’ (1946) Coleman Hawkins’ 52nd Street All- Stars exemplifies well her fantastic lead playing. Listen for her main solo @0:38;

Her lead and comping skills are in full effect on the Mary Osborne Trio recording of ‘Blues in Mary’s Flat’ (1947), composed by Osborne herself;

Finally, a fantastic video of Osborne performing with Billie Holliday on the Art Ford Jazz Party programme in 1958;


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Altamira International Guitar Symposium, Hong Kong (July 2018)

Had an amazing week in Hong Kong at the Altamira International Guitar Symposium in in July, where I presented a research paper on my framework for popular guitar analysis.

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The research symposium was a wonderful event, bringing together guitarists and guitar researchers from all over the world, with papers encompassing classical, jazz, popular and folk guitar research topics.  The conference ran concurrently with the Altamira Classical Guitar Competition and Festival, offering concerts from numerous world-class players, including Meng Su, David Russell and Aniello Desiderio.  Wonderful to catch up with old friends and colleagues, and to meet new ones. An amazing week, in an amazing city.



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Happy Birthday, Memphis Minnie….

June 3rd 1897 – August 6, 1973


One of my favourite MM solo’s is from ‘Looking the World Over’ (1941)…… listen @ 1:45

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New Article in PopScriptum 12

I have had a new article published in the online journal PopScriptum. The latest Volume is entitled “Sound, Sex and Sexisim”


“In the penultimate article, Kate Lewis deals with the gendered connotations of guitar in popular music. In As Good As Any Man I’ve Ever Heard: Lead Guitar, Gendered Approaches, and Popular Music she describes the marginalization of women on the electric guitar as a historical phenomenon that did not exist before Rock’n’Roll. In the late 1950s, however, a stereotype of the electric guitar response, so strongly interwoven with normative ideas of masculine authenticity and technology dominance, developed that the play of guitarists in front of this cultural background became quite incomprehensible. Guitarists in the pop music field must not only bring outstanding technical skills to the instrument, but also develop their own positioning and performance strategies in a male-encoded field.

Find the complete article here   “As Good As Any Man I’ve Ever Heard: Lead Guitar, Gendered Approaches and Popular Music”

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Conference: “Instrument of Change: The International Rise of the Guitar (c. 1870-1945)” Melbourne – Dec 2016

Was invited to present some of my PhD research on the playing styles of pioneering female lead guitar players at a conference in Australia last month, entitled “Instrument of Change: The International Rise of the Guitar (c. 1870-1945)”. The conference, held at the University of Melbourne, featured guitar researchers from around the globe, presenting on diverse topics such as “Creativity and Cognition in Early Jazz Guitar Pedagogy” (Amy Brandon – CAN), “Atahualpa Yupanqui’s Guitar Style and Staged Representations of Folk Music in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina” ( Julius Reder Carlson – USA) and “Historical Performance Practice of Spanish Modernism: An Approach to the Performer Regino Sainz de la Maza” (Yiannis Efstathopoulos – EU).

My paper, “She Made That Guitar Talk: Pioneering Female Lead Guitar Players and Their Influence on the Development of American Popular Music”  explored the approaches to playing taken by Maybelle Carter, Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, three female lead guitar players who were all significantly innovative within the contexts of the 1930s and ’40s country, blues and gospel/R&B genres. In addition to examining the specific technical and musical approaches of these players, the paper consider the cultural implications of the presence of commercially successful female lead players in early popular music, in contrast with the virtual absence of equivalent figures in later popular styles.

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