Everything I Should Have Said
Devil’s River Records

With last year’s Del Rio, Texas Revisited: Unplugged & Lonesome, Radney Foster returned to his solo roots, celebrating the album that — like his hits with Foster and Lloyd before it — cemented his reputation as arguably one of the most influential (and certainly respected) artists on the Texas country scene of the last 25 years. But on his first album of new songs in five years, he eschews country and folk sounds for soul and rock — to a mostly stellar effect. Everything I Should Have Said was recorded in a former brothel in a secluded section of Louisiana, and indeed, there’s a swampy heart apparent in some of the album’s best songs. A soulful organ hovers around raw, metallic percussion in “Whose Heart You Wreck,” while R&B textures lend life to “Hard Light of Day,” which seems to be pulled from a Muscle Shoals studio session. And although not everything here delivers quite the same thrill (“Unh Unh Unh” means well but comes off as a tad too cute for its own good), he still hits his mark far more than he misses it. Heck, the title track is intriguing enough for its title alone: Foster, after all, is a songwriter who says things better than most in his field — both his peers and the many younger artists who have taken cues and musical lessons from him (from Pat Green to Randy Rogers and beyond). And as shown in that specific, elegantly conveyed song of regret and throughout the rest of Everything, he’s still got plenty left to say. — KELLY DEARMORE

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