Description: $15 adv / $15 day of show
TICKETS AVAILABLE ON LINE UNTIL 6:00 DAY OF SHOW.
MORE TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR AFTER 8:00.
$15 ~ CASH SALES ONLY
Radney Foster: The position that Radney Foster enjoys in the country music landscape is remarkable. Mainstream country music and independent Americana tend to occupy separate orbits. Yet for 25 years Foster has thrived in both as a songwriter, recording artist, live performer and producer. His songs—solo, with Foster and Lloyd and recorded by other artists—have topped the country, Americana, and AAA charts alike. At the same time, he’s earned the respect of his peers and a devoted audience as intent on listening as they are eager to dance. Even this far into his career he’s still shaking things up, this time with a gutsy new album, Revival.
Foster developed his best-of-both-worlds sensibilities growing up in the small town of Del Rio, Texas. He absorbed a varied diet of music from the local pop radio station by day and a boundary-less definition of country from renegade border station XERF by night.
In the early 1980s, he came to Nashville, and started the daily discipline of co-writing. He met up with another struggling songwriter, Bill Lloyd, and the two began writing together. The songwriting partnership led to cuts by The Sweethearts of the Rodeo and Ricky Van Shelton, but it was the demos the duo recorded together that caught the attention of RCA Records. Foster and Lloyd put out their first record in 1987 and became the first duo in country music history to score a #1 with their debut single, “Crazy Over You.” Their music appealed as much to college rock listeners looking for an edgy roots sound as it did country fans craving tradition, and they went on to release three groundbreaking albums for the label.
When the duo parted ways, Foster followed his heart into recording a pair of “stone-cold country” solo albums for Arista—Del Rio, Texas, 1959 (named for where and when he entered the world) and Labor of Love—producing smart, memorable hits like “Just Call Me Lonesome” and “Nobody Wins.”
At that point personal turmoil led him to record the darker-edged See What You Want To See with producer Darrell Brown and engineer Niko Bolas. “I had gone through a divorce, and my young son moved with his mother to France,” Foster says. The album is considered a classic of alternative country, and the songs on it have since been cut by acts like Keith Urban (“Raining On Sunday,” and “I’m In”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Godspeed”).
Foster’s label folded soon after the release, so he set out on his own with three independent albums: a live set, Are You Ready For the Big Show?, the pop-inflected Another Way To Go and the roots rock-leaning This World We Live In, also co-produced by Brown.
And that brings us to the present. Arriving a full decade after See What You Want To See and recorded with the same trusted studio team (Brown and Bolas), his new project is a solid bookend to that watershed album. But it’s also more than that.
These twelve songs emerged when Foster plunged into the roiling waters of change—his father’s death and the end of his twelve-year, 5,000-mile separation from his son—and came up with renewed conviction.
“Losing my dad and having my son come home made me go through a period of reflection,” offers Foster. “It’s brought me in many ways closer to God, and it’s filled me in many ways with more doubts than I ever had before. I couldn’t help but pour all of that into these songs.”
Most of the songs on the album are what Foster calls “close to the bone,” so personal that he either wrote them on his own or with trusted friends, like Brown and Jay Clementi. “I Know You Can Hear Me,” is a wrenching goodbye to Foster’s father. “I Made Peace With God That Day” and “Until It’s Gone”—both written with Brown—respectively capture the anguished fear of losing a child and vow to live with abandon (and crank up the volume) from here on out.
Foster has always had the ability to make the personal feel universal, and every song on this set brings the listener closer. There is a piercing honesty to songs like “Forgiveness” and “Life Is Hard (Love Is Easy)”
He also found a way to bridge seduction—something he’s sung about plenty and playfully over the years—and spiritual confession. The stylish, shuffling R&B of “Trouble Tonight” runs seamlessly into the choir-backed gospel boogie of “Shed a Little Light.” Foster calls it a “Saturday night/Sunday morning combo,” the sort of thing his wife used to put on the opposite sides of mixtapes back when they were dating.
With so much at stake in getting the spirit of these songs across, Foster relied on his longtime road band, now appropriately dubbed the Confessions. Thanks to them—and to Foster’s own contributions on electric guitar—the album has a big guitar sound and a raw energy. The band adds relentlessness to “Second Chances” which perfectly matches the lyrics, and a beautiful, stirring soundscape to “Suitcase.”
Foster also enlisted the help of some friends. Dierks Bentley (who recorded Foster’s “Sweet and Wild”) came in to join the party on “Until It’s Gone,” and Darius Rucker lends his distinctive harmony on “Angel Flight,” a moving tribute to the pilots who fly their fallen brethren home to their final resting places. Foster’s co-writer, Darden Smith, started writing the song after talking to a pilot of the Texas Air National Guard who mentioned he flew the “angel flight.” Smith asked Radney to finish the song with him, and the pair are donating proceeds from the song to a charity that provides assistance to military families beset by tragedy.
The set closes with a bluegrass reprise of the title track. Radney, Tammy Rogers and Jon Randall gathered around a microphone and in one take captured the spirit of Revival—joy and hope in the midst of uncertainty.
True to its title, Revival is the boldest and most spiritual thing Foster has done to date. But it would be a mistake to pigeonhole it strictly as a gospel release; what Foster is preaching here is the gospel of truth, and having the guts to choose love over fear. And like any good revival, this one will have you dancing, crying, laughing and ready to testify. Like he sings in the opening and closing track, Amen to love.