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Radney Foster And The Confessions
Review By Steven Stone

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  Religion, spirituality and music have been inexorably intertwined ever since the first Neolithic shaman grunted in rhythm. Radney Foster's Revival marks a new chapter in this continuing saga. But if you're expecting another feel-good Christian rock album, forget it. Foster's latest is grittier and more bacchanalian than 99% of the sectarian non-religious CDs you'll hear.

Radney Foster's been around a while. He began his professional music career as a songwriter at MTM publishing. He met fellow songwriter Bill Lloyd and they formed the duo Foster and Lloyd. They released three albums between 1986 and 1990. When they parted ways Foster began his solo career with his first album, Del Rio TX 1959, which included two top-ten country hits "Just Call Me Lonesome," and "Nobody Wins." In 1994 he released Labor of Love which didn't produce any hit singles, but was nonetheless a strong album. His final release for Arista records was 1998's See What You Want to See. It contained "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" which was covered by The Dixie Chicks on their Home album. In 2001 Foster went to Dualtone records where he released Are You Ready for the Big Show?, Another Way to Go in 2002, and This World We Live Inin 2006. Revival is the first release on Foster's own label, Devil's River Records.

Revival makes a forceful first impression with the opening cut, "A Little Revival." Foster, Eric Borash and Adam Shoenfield contribute cutting electric guitar parts fraught with fourth order harmonic distortion.  The chorus, "Hallelujah – A little Rivival – Amen to Love," revs up to a full-fledge rock and roll rave-up by the song's conclusion. For contrast the last cut features an all-acoustic version of the same song. Featuring John Randall on mandolin and Tammy Rogers on fiddle, they both join Foster around the microphone for harmony vocals.

The other eleven songs on Revival share the opening cut's fervor and originality. Some, such as "Forgiveness," remind me of Fred Eaglesmith's best work. Others such as, "Until It's Gone" have a country rockabilly edge that would make Billy Burnet smile and mutter, "That get's it." In contrast, "I Know You Can Hear Me," is a brooding confessional with a slowly building guitar part. My favorite, "Angel Flight" which Foster co-wrote with Darden Smith, combines bittersweet lyrics with an arrestingly addictive melody.

In short, Revival ranks as Radney Foster's strongest and most personal album since Del Rio, TX, 1959. It's certainly revived my interest in his music.















































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