Radney Foster’s Del Rio, TX 1959 notched country radio hits bold (“Just Call Me Lonesome”), bruised (“Nobody Wins”) and blustery with blues (“Easier Said Than Done”). Twenty years on, the 52-year-old has reworked his landmark solo debut as Del Rio, Texas Revisited: Acoustic & Lonesome.
“These songs are still as real to me,” Foster says. “They take on different meanings because it is 20 years later, but the stories still resonate. Twenty years ago, I worried about every single detail. Now you stop worrying about minutiae and you start saying, ‘Does that communicate? Do you feel the emotion?’”
The new album reinvents Del Rio as an ambitious and artful acoustic collection. In early March, fiddler Martie Maguire, guitarists Jon Randall Stewart and Steve Fishell, bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummer Michael Ramos gathered in Austin as Foster’s studio band.
“I don’t do a lot of sessions, but I was so flattered when Radney asked me,” says Maguire, a member of the Dixie Chicks. “I don’t consider myself a studio musician, but I love harmonizing with Jon Randall.”
Their combined elegance fortifies favorites like “Old Silver” as well as bonus additions, such as the new meditation “Me and John R.”
“These new sessions weren’t a victory lap,” says Steve Fishell, who produced the original. “We [recorded] new grooves. Imagine the original version of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ compared to his 1992 live Unplugged version.”
“Del Rio’s arguably the best country record I’ve ever made,” Foster says. “So many young singers and songwriters come up to me and say, ‘I wore that record out.’”
Darius Rucker sure did.
“I told Capitol in my second meeting that if they wanted me to record Del Rio, TX, 1959 all over, I’d be fine with that,” the country star says. “Radney Foster’s my biggest influence.”