Armed with only a guitar and a microphone, the rich voice of singer-songwriter Radney Foster still managed to engulf the intimate space of the Mint in Los Angeles Saturday night (June 25th).
Half of the duo Foster & Lloyd, Radney Foster scored Top 10 hits on the country charts with his singles “Nobody Wins” and “Just Call Me Lonesome,” but arguably his most important work has come later in his career, with artists like Keith Urban, Sara Evans, and Gary Allan recording his songs.
And Radney included the “West Texas” songwriter’s version of several of those songs in his acoustic set at the Mint, most notably “Half of My Mistakes” (recorded by Gary Allan), as well as “I’m In,” and “Raining on Sunday,” both recorded by Keith Urban. Radney noted that Keith’s wife Nicole Kidman had encouraged her husband to record “I’m In,” after hearing it on a playlist Keith had made for her while she was filming a movie in Australia, a sly grin creeping on his face as he recalled her describing it as “sexy.”
“California is where people go to reinvent themselves,” Radney declared while introducing “California,” from his latest album Everything I Should Have Said. The audience was also treated to Radney’s “Not In My House” (“my take on a hate speech,” he explained), and a not-yet-recorded song, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
He paid tribute to the iconic Guy Clark, a mentor of Radney’s, performing his song, “L.A. Freeway,” preceded by a recollection of a songwriting session Radney and Bill Lloyd (the other half of Foster & Lloyd) once had in Nashville with Guy (which was later serendipitously interrupted by Townes Van Zandt), told in a way that would make the late singer-songwriter – known for his storytelling – quite proud.
Along the same lines, Radney recalled waking his parents up in the middle of the night one evening to tell them, “I think God wants me to drop out of college to become a singer-songwriter,” and his father’s reply, “Son, I’ve known God a long, long time. And I don’t think God wants any son of mine to drop out of college to become a singer-songwriter.”
Nevertheless, Radney found himself loading everything he owned into his Volkswagen to move to Nashville, and as he was leaving, a family friend compared working as a musician to working in rodeo (“It gets in your blood”). With those words echoing in his ears as he started his journey, after about 90 miles, Radney pulled over to the side of the road to write the first verse of “Texas in 1880.” He said he finished it, several years later, thanks to the encouragement of mentors like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Bill Lloyd (with whom he’d later record “1880” as a Foster & Lloyd song).
Radney says writing “Angel Flight,” which prompted his Songwriting with Soldiers project, is a song that changed his life, and the poignant tribute to fallen members left not a dry eye in the house.
- Just Call Me Lonesome
- Raining on Sunday
- Greatest Show on Earth
- L.A. Freeway (Guy Clark cover)
- Half of My Mistakes
- I’m In
- Angel Flight
- Not In My House
- Texas In 1880
- Nobody Wins
- The Man You Want