In 1930, as a freshman at Georgetown College, Foley was chosen by a talent scout from Chicago's WLS-AM to sing with producer
John Lair's Cumberland Ridge Runners, the house band on National Barn Dance. His first single, "Life is Good Enough for Me/Lonesome Cowboy", was released in
June 1933 on the Melotone label. In 1937 he returned to Kentucky with Lair to help establish the Renfro Valley Barn Dance stage and radio show near Mt. Vernon
in 1939, performing everything from ballads to boogie-woogie to blues. In late 1939, Foley became the first country artist to host a network radio program, NBC's
Avalon Time (co-hosted by Red Skelton), and he performed extensively at theaters, clubs and fairs. He then returned for another seven-year stint with National Barn Dance.