Radney Foster showcases new book, album

By Paul T. Mueller

Radney Foster can now add “author” to his already impressive résumé. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter recently published For You to See the Stars, a collection of short stories related in some way to lyrics from his songs. He simultaneously released a CD with the same title, on which some of the 11 songs share their titles with stories from the book. Foster featured songs and a story in an in-store appearance at Houston’s Cactus Music on Sept. 30, in the middle of a two-night stand at the nearby McGonigel’s Mucky Duck.

Strumming an acoustic six-string, with impressive accompaniment from Eddie Heinzelman on electric guitar, Foster kicked off the event with “For You to See the Stars,” a reflection on adversity and our response to it (note to self: when writing a song, hope to include a line as good as “rock bottom is just solid ground to start again”). Next came a nice rendition of “Raining on Sunday,” an older song, co-written with Darrell Scott, that became a hit for Keith Urban.

The literary part of the show consisted of Foster’s reading of “Bridge Club,” a funny coming-of-age story of sorts. He noted that the story, which revolves around a memorable day for a young boy and his mother’s bridge club, is fiction, although the dark twist at the end involves an event that was all too real.

Two more songs followed: “Greatest Show on Earth,” a lively account of Foster’s introduction to music via family music parties, and “Howlin’,” about the way a generation of young people was introduced to rock ‘n’ roll in the early ’60s by DJ Wolfman Jack, who broadcast over a powerful “border blaster” radio station across the Mexican border from Foster’s hometown of Del Rio, Texas.

Radney Foster stuck around for quite awhile after the music ended, signing autographs and chatting with enthusiastic fans.

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