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 30 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.
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.” That hybrid of influences may be why Foster’s always been tough to categorize; his first success was with the seminal country/cowpunk duo Foster & Lloyd, whose first single, “Crazy Over You,” went straight to #1. His subsequent solo albums told tales through a honky tonk lens and yielded enduring hits “Just Call Me Lonesome” and “Nobody Wins.”
“Telling stories is embedded and ingrained in my DNA” says Foster. “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 like Keith Urban (“Raining on Sunday,” “I’m In,”), Sara Evans (“Real Fine Place,” “Revival”) and the Dixie Chicks (“Godspeed”).
“I’m always trying to find a little piece of the truth,” says Texas singer-songwriter Radney Foster. With his latest release, Everything I Should Have Said, the truth is laid bare. The collection 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.
Throughout his career, Foster has continuously stretched the boundaries. “I strive to challenge myself as a writer, a musician and a singer everyday.” As his voice has deepened and grown richer, so, it seems, has his focus. These are the songs of a full-grown man, who long ago left fear by the side of the road.