When it came to top country releases of the 1990s this Radney Foster original solo debut (made twenty years ago and now re-recorded acoustic fashion due to his fans wanting new versions of the songs from an album no longer available on CD) was among the top ten. No messing. It was equal to what The O’Kanes and what they were doing. His music is of the kind where less often means more. Foster carried forth into his solo carrier the finest attributes of the duo he had only just left (Foster & Lloyd) and tag them with a keener cutting edge, and on occasions when in reflective mood see his music dug deeper than ever before.
Joined on this re-recording he has a stellar set of players in tow (“this time everyone was in one room, with the takes live with no fixes and no headphones,” says Steve Fishell who produced the original recording and plays Dobro and Weisenborn guitar on this one. Beautifully I hasten to add. As for the other players you have Marty McGuire (Dixie Chicks) on fiddle, background vocals, Jon Randall Stewart (acoustic guitar, mandolin, background vocals), Michael Ramos (accordion, Wurlitzer), Matt Borer (percussion), Glenn Fukunaga (upright bass) plus Brady Black performs fiddle on the sombre ‘Closing Time’ and album finale ‘Went For A Ride’.
An esteemed songwriter Foster has seen the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban, Sara Evans and Gary Allan among others cover his material, plus of course there were the hits with Bill Lloyd (‘Fair Shake’, ‘Crazy For You’ , ‘What Do You Want From Me This Time’ and ‘Texas In 1880’. On this record there's co-writes with Beth Nielsen Chapman, Alice Randall, Darden Smith, George Ducas, Cindy Bullens, Kim Richey, Mark Sager and Jon Randall Stewart to aid four solo efforts. As he travels through people’s everyday emotions and as in ‘Louisiana Blue’ also see something of the world on doing so.
Easing trough the likes of ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ which is one of those can’t get out of this relationship quick enough. Since it hurts so much to hear her apologise and say goodbye. Plus there is the wonderful fiddle plied wistful odes ‘Easier Said Than Done’ and ‘Fine Line’. The latter is a heartfelt song that speaks of the power of the highway, and of how there is no way of avoiding a broken heart such the tangled mess scenario portrayed.
‘Nobody Wins’ was a big winner the first time round and once again it sounds great. Other must hear songs include the Dobro aided ‘Hammer And Nails’ and of course, the uplifting paced album opener, ‘Just Call Me Lonesome’. Wrapped in fine Dobro, accordion and fiddle like with bonus cut, story-ballad ‘Me And John R.’. It speaks of how the man in question packs everything that matters to him in a duffle bag and has nothing to loose, and of the only cash he’s going to find is (Johnny) on AM radio going down the highway singing ‘Folsom Prison’. A real down on your luck kind of country song.
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