Far away from the mainstream machinery that creates a lot of fake good ole boys and girls (and outlaws alike); beyond the smoke and mirrors of modern top 40 radio, is where the majority of heart and soul artists live and breathe. Texas son Radney Foster is one such artist, a singer-songwriter who has always resided somewhere on the outskirts of ‘Guitar Town’. A from-the-gut vocal delivery and an ability to craft tales that cut to the deepest part of the listener’s soul set Foster apart from his peers.
Even though he flirted briefly with the mainstream as one half of the duo Foster & Lloyd in the late ’80s, and as a solo performer in the early ’90s, Foster has always been an outsider. The singer’s 1992 Del Rio Texas, 1959 major label solo debut produced four top forty singles, including the top 5 hit “Nobody Wins.” A few short years later, however, and Foster was thrown on the scrap heap of artists who didn’t fit the mold in Nashville and left for dead. But good art always finds a home, and Foster cut an indie path in the Americana world.
Everything I Should Have said, released on May 13, 2014, was Foster’s third full-length release for his own Devil’s River Records label, and his first album of new material in five years (his tenth album over all). The twelve track collection is as raw and real as anything Foster has recorded in his career. From the sultry “Whose Heart You Wreck,” a smoky blues-injected number with junkyard instrumentation, to the unrestrained honesty of the disc-closing title cut, Everything I Should Have Said is a pure singer-songwriter record.
Foster slices his artistic wrists and bleeds all over the grooves of the album; he squeezes every last ounce of soul from his heart on songs like “California,” “Mine Until Morning” and “Lie About Loving Me.”“Not In My House,” an emotionally driven track that hits back hard at hate, is one of the most powerful numbers Foster has ever penned:
“There’s a guy on the street with a sign that says God hates fags, and that’s so wrong/ And it crushes my soul to see evil burn so strong/ Stones and sticks, politics, the devil holds your coat while you get in your licks/Why do we think so small when God’s so big,” Foster sings, before continuing, “‘Cause you don’t talk to my friends that way/You don’t talk to my brother that way/And you damn sure don’t talk to my daughter that way.”
Although his songs have been record by some of Country and Americana music’s best artists, hit makers like Sara Evans, Gary Allan, Keith Urban and the Randy Rogers Band, it’s Foster’s own readings of his compositions that pack the biggest punch. Expect Everything I Should Have Said to spend a lot of time in your stereo.