Hot Pick – Radney Foster

Radney Foster
Del Rio, Texas Revisited: Unplugged & Lonesome
Devil’s River Records

Way back in 1992, fter years with acclaimed country duo Foster & Lloyd, Radney Foster recorded and released his solo debut, Del Rio, TX, 1959. It came out during the “new country” boom in the ’90s and it contained a few big hits of the day, so in music circles, it kind of got lumped in with a lot of easily forgettable country music of the day. The thing about the album is, it’s anything but forgettable, containing some amazingly powerful writing (“A Fine Line”) and a melodic masterpiece or two (“Nobody Wins.”) There were some stellar guest stars on the album (Mary Chapin Carpenter), some talented co-writers (Kim Richey and Beth Neilson Chapman), and the songs were covered by such big acts as The Dixie Chicks and Hootie and the Blowfish. It’s one of those classic albums that the Steel Belted crew loves, and one that we can surely agree on (and there aren’t too many of those!) But sadly, it’s out of print and so, hard to find. Foster gets requests for that one all of the time, and since record company bumbling has kept him from re-releasing it himself, he went and recorded a new, updated version of the entire album. It’s called “Del Rio, Texas Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome,” and as such, it’s not a faithful re-recording of the album, it’s a more modern take, and done in a stripped back acoustic style. Again, there are a lot of great guests on the album, including Marty McGuire (Dixie Chicks), Dan Baird, David Henry, Jack Ingram, and a host of other Texas all-stars (those names might not mean much to you unless you read a lot of liner notes like us, but if you look up their resumes, you’ll see the significance.) The 20 years since the release have worn Radney’s voice a bit, but that just serves to draw in more emotion and feeling than the somewhat slick original, which only improves the power of the songs, and will hopefully update the album’s legacy and help new listeners to see it apart from the “new country” phase that surrounded the original. The songs are true timeless classics, well worth revisiting, or discovering for the first time. Highly recommended.

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