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Radney Foster Goes Back in Time 2 Decades With “Del Rio, Texas Revisited – Unplugged & Lonesome” – CD Review [AUDIO]

Radney Foster
RadneyFoster.com

West Texas native Singer/songwriter/storyteller Radney Foster has a knack for revisiting his past. The title of his debut solo album “Del Rio, TX 1959″ revisits his birthplace. Last year, Foster revisited his duet partner Bill Lloyd with the first Foster & Lloyd release of new music since 1990. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that his newest solo CD, “Del Rio, Texas Revisited – Unplugged & Lonesome” revisits the work from his original solo album of two decades ago.

The idea to release”Del Rio, Texas Revisited” seemed to be an afterthought. Foster spent a weekend with some close friends and they came out with this. A very raw, organic live taping that rivals the quality of any album today in my opinion. Radney shares in the liner notes that “What happened that weekend was magical, and we decided to let it show, with all the rough edges intact.”. After several listens to “Del Rio, Texas Revisited – Unplugged & Lonesome”, I’m not catching a whole lot of the “rough edges” of which he speaks. And those that I hear can be easily chalked up to artistic license.

“Del Rio, Texas Revisited” is a song-for-song remake of the 1992 debut of a similar name, with an all acoustic twist. It features an additional track, “Me And John R.”. Each redone song is stripped down, unplugged, and presented in a unique way. Fans of the first CD (which is currently out of print) will notice the difference from the first track “Just Call Me Lonesome”, where the original big beat and heavy rockabilly guitar are replaced with brushes and a more understated, yet powerful, acoustic guitar.

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Reworked versions of “Don’t Say Goodbye”, “A Fine Line” and “Went For A Ride” (listen below) just need to be heard. These Radney Foster classics are so fresh on this CD, they sound like brand new. That’s the theme throughout “Del Rio, Texas Revisited”. The entire creation proves that Fosters’ music stands the test of time.

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While this isn’t purely a country CD (especially by today’s standards), there are songs that take on a more country feel on “Del Rio, Texas Revisited”, including “Nobody Wins”. I hear a lot of blues, too, especially on the second half of the CD. But there’s evidence that Radney and the great players accompanying him on the album took a “play it as it feels” approach. No set arrangements or game plan going in, allowing the talent of each artist to shine through.

You’ll still be able to sing along to the songs on the new edition. You won’t catch a lot of major tempo differences on “Del Rio, Texas Revisited”, but more with the texture, if that makes any sense. Basically, the 1992 version was polished and ready for the radio, while the 2012 songs are ready for the Grammy Awards. The 1992 CD has a sound fit for a full band show at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, and the 2012 version is ready for an acoustic session at Dosey Doe in Houston.

Radney Foster is considered to be an Americana artist, and his style has always seemed to be a lyrics first approach. He also has a rare accessibility for up and coming artists. Several Texas-based musicians seem send praise out to Foster as a major influence on their careers because of this.

I wish more artists would do this. The idea that Radney is so proud of his earlier works has to give his fans a good feeling in knowing that they share love of the music with the artist. The presentation of these songs gives the listener more emotion, a better connection to the songs, and an appreciation for Radney Foster’s talent. I can’t wait to see what he has in the works next.

Check Out Our Review of Rodney Crowell and Mary Karr's 'Kin'

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