Radney Foster has officially released "Everything I Should Have Said," his first disc of fresh music since 2009's "Revival," and it's on his very own Devil's River Records that's distributed by Think Indie.
“I’m always trying to find a little piece of the truth,” the Texas-graced Foster said in a May 14 email shared with Examiner.
Regarding the songs on his new album, the truth is laid bare. Per his PR camp, Foster's"first collection of new songs in five years opens with 'Whose Heart You Wreck,' a stormy lament to a fickle muse and closes with the title track, an unflinching apology for things done and left undone. In between, Foster uncovers the smaller truths in life, whether in the confessional 'The Man You Want,' the frustration behind 'Lie About Loving Me' or the playful frankness of 'Unh, Unh, Unh.'"
Says the singer-songwriter: “My challenge is, how do you have another take on a love song? How do you keep it interesting?” In this instance, Foster said he felt he had to leave Music City in his rear-viewer mirror and unpack a suitcase full of songs and like-minded musical friends to Louisiana.
“I wanted the album to have a band feel, and to do that I knew we needed to get away from schedules and cell phones.” he shared. In turn, Foster and his chosen musicians parked themselves at Dockside Studios, a little pocket of soul alongside the Louisiana bayou. The space is the site of a long-forgotten brothel, and far from the sterile studios of Nashville.
“When you’re sitting with the moss is hanging from the trees and the bayou rolling by, you can’t help but have your songs slow down and get swampier,” Foster said.
Not surprisingly, then, the difference in locale is evident from the album's first tune,“Whose Heart You Wreck (Ode To The Muse)”
“The song is about the crazy struggle of inspiration, and we recorded it using a bunch of found objects," explained Foster, referring to the first track. "The drum kit was made up of trashcans, a piece of angle iron, and a big gear plate. There were a lot of Tom Waits-style atmospherics going on behind me, but I was playing a straight-up, double thumb style guitar blues, almost like Doc Watson would have done.”
Meanwhile, on numbers such as “California” and “Holding Back,” these songs also boast the introspection of recording at a remote spot. And on "Hard Light of Day" and "Unh, Unh, Unh,” the late-night groove is evident.
Word has it that album co-producer Justin Tocket encouraged Radney to dig deep. The recordings were magic—fun, loose and lasting late into the night. Foster and Tocket intentionally chose not to over polish, preferring to keep the sweat and tears on the tracks, such as “Everything I Should Have Said,” which Foster has described as being the emotional centerpiece of the record.
“I’ve gotten to an age where I feel like I don’t have anything to prove,” Foster revealed. “And that’s very freeing when it comes to playing, singing and recording. “Telling stories is embedded and ingrained in my DNA. My grandfather was a cowboy raconteur and a storyteller. He didn’t sing songs, but he sure told stories around the campfire. There’s a long, long history of yarn spinning in Texas, and I like to think I come from that tradition.”
Considered an elder statesman of Texas singer-songwriters, Foster has been a friend and mentor to many younger artists on the Texas scene. He’s written and produced songs for Randy Rogers, Jack Ingram, Kacey Musgraves, Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott, Pat Green, Cory Morrow and many others. His songs are regularly mined by superstar acts such as Keith Urban (“Raining on Sunday,” “I’m In,”), Sara Evans (“Real Fine Place,” “Revival”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Godspeed”).
Foster grew up in two worlds – herding cattle on horseback at his grandfather’s East Texas ranch in the summers and hunkering over a transistor radio in West Texas hometown, listening to border radio.
“My house in Del Rio was a mile from Mexico, so I heard everything growing up – from country to conjunto,” said Foster, who considers that hybrid of influences as being the reason that his sound is sometimes tough to categorize. Still, as country fans know, his first success was with the seminal country/cowpunk duo Foster & Lloyd, whose first single, “Crazy Over You,” went straight to No. 1. His subsequent solo albums told tales through a honky-tonk lens and yielded enduring hits “Just Call Me Lonesome” and “Nobody Wins.”
In the mid-'90s, Foster went through another turning point. In the midst of a divorce, remarriage and custody crisis of his young son moving overseas, he gave up trying to please country radio, he said, and recorded a CD that brought him to a whole other audience.
“'See What You Want To See' changed the way I make records,” Foster said. “It was such a tumultuous period in my life, but it made me realize that when you are that close to the bone honest, you make great music. I think this is one of the most emotional records I’ve made since then.”
Foster's slated a string of tour dates in support of "Everything I Should Have Said." Below is a list of his current show dates.
May 15, Red Clay Theater, Duluth, Ga.
May 18, Americana Jam - Gruene, Texas
May 21 - Superfly's Lone Star Music Emporium, San Marcos, Texas (In-store performance 6pm)
May 22, Mucky Duck, Houston, Texas
May 23, Cactus Music, Houston, Texas (In store performance, 5 p.m.)
May 23, Mucky Duck, Houston, Texas
May 24, Mark's Blue Water Saloon, Canyon Lake, Texas
Jun 5, Courtyard Theater, Plano, Texas
June 7, Knuckleheads, Kansas City, Mo.
Jun 12, The Walnut Room, Denver, Cloo.
Jun 13, Pikes Peak Pub, Manitou Springs, Colo.
Jun 14, Wright Opera House, Ouray, Colo.
Jul 11, Dosey Doe, The Woodlands, Texas
Jul 12, Levitt Pavillion, Arlington, Texas
Aug 1, Gruene Hall, New Braunfels, Texas
Aug 7, Live from the Divide, Bozeman, Mont.
Aug 8, Braun Bro Reunion, Challis, Idaho
Aug 23, Love and War in Texas, Grapevine, Texas
Oct 14, House of Blues, Houston, Texas
Tour date updates are available at radneyfoster.com.
- Video bonus: To sample Radney Foster's "Whose Heart You Wreck (Ode To The Muse)," a track contained on his new CD, please access the clip embedded with this post.