You better swing your groove like you’re swinging a hammer. Sing like Cash did in the slammer.
– “Until It’s Gone”
Radney Foster has had an interesting career. Starting out as one half of the duo Foster & Lloyd in the late 80s and then going solo in the 90s, Foster has always penned intelligent thoughtful country songs.
One of the many casualites of the 90s pop-country invasion, Foster retreated to Texas and became a superstar on the “Texas Music” circuit. Since that time he has crafted some truly spectacular music, most specifically his 1999 album “See What You Want to See.”
His new album “Revival” is his finest since that recording.
From the opening chords of the title track all the way through the reprise that ends the album, Foster takes the listener to church on what is the most wholly spiritual record I’ve heard since “The Joshua Tree.”
From the title of the album to the name of his new backing band, the Confessions, Foster has puts his newfound spirituality on display with amazing results.
Just as “See What You Want to See” dealt with Foster’s divorce and seperation from his son, “Revival” is, at its core, a meditation on the loss of Foster’s father to whom the album is dedicated.
Here’s your track listing:
A Little Revival
Until It’s Gone
I Know You Can Hear Me
Shed a Little Light
I Made Peace with God That Day
Life is Hard
If You Want to be Loved
A Little Revival (reprise)
The standout tracks here are “I Made Peace with God That Day,” “Angel Flight” and “Until It’s Gone.”
“I Made Peace” is the story of the relationship between and father and son from beginning to end. “Angel Flight,” written for the Texas National Guard, is a meditation on the human cost of war. “Until It’s Gone” is a Johnny Cash inspired rave up that celebrates life lived strong.
“Life is Hard (Love is Easy)” is a tremendous confessional that would be a huge hit on country radio if there was any justice. Lines like “I’ve been to the crossroads but my soul would not sell” and “lost my children and watched love bring them back” deserve a much larger audience.
It speaks to Foster’s strengths as a songwriter that after the strong opening of “A Little Revival” the songs never tail off in quality. “Suitcase” is a great closer and would be a side one track for most people.
I saw Foster in concert on the day this record was released. The “Revival” songs were the core of his set. They fit nicely with the rest of his work and several are going to become standards.
Through all this seriousness, Foster hasn’t lost his sense of humor. “Trouble Tonight” starts with the line “Let’s you and me go get in trouble tonight.” If might seem out of place on this record except for the fact that it sounds almost like a hymn the way the song is arranged.
Foster lost a bet on the Houston Texans/Minnesota Vikings football game the night before we saw him. He paid up in full as evidenced below.
“Revival” is one of my favorite records in recent years. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at your local store, Itunes or other preferred music source.
Couldn’t we all do with a little revival in our lives?