Radney Foster,
Another Way to Go
(Dualtone, 2002)

To be honest, Another Way to Go did not make the knockdown, drag-out impression on me that Texas native Radney Foster's last studio record, 1998's See What You Want to See, did. It took a little longer to get to me, but is no less impressive. One of the things I've always liked about him is that he writes his own songs, which have been recorded most recently by artists such as Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks. On this record, he once again displays his knack for writing not only catchy, radio-friendly music, but also for finding the words to make the songs unique. As usual, many of the songs are about love -- gone right, gone wrong, fallen apart and put back together. Relationships make the world go 'round, after all.

The first single from the record is the touching and personal "Everyday Angel." Foster puts a new spin on celebrating the strength of the human spirit and the bravery we find in ourselves during times of crisis. This song is destined to be a hit.

Upon hearing of the death of longtime songwriting partner Harlan Howard, Foster went into the studio and recorded their song "Scary Old World," which features a duet with Chely Wright. It is a fitting tribute to his friend and partner. I looked through his previous CDs for songs that they had written -- it doesn't look like Foster has ever recorded one before. One of my favourite tracks is "What Are We Doing Here Tonight," co-written with Chip Boyd. It's about taking chances, about closing your eyes and taking a leap of faith with someone new, surviving only on the possibility of love: "I believe that even if we lose, it's worth the fight." It's a classic country love song theme, but again he finds a way to make it original.

A little of Foster's outlaw attitude slips into the title track, co-written with Darrell Brown, a tribute to making your own path in life regardless of the obstacles.

The music on Another Way to Go, while remaining true to Foster's country music roots, also contains elements of folk, rock, pop. It all comes together to create a good record, definitely worth checking out. My only complaint would be that it is a bit too polished, too perfectly put together. It doesn't stand out from the crowd nearly as much as his earlier work. It would be good to see something a little rougher around the edges, a little more raw on his next record.

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 21 December 2002

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