"I've been a cowboy all my life/A rock star once or twice," Radney Foster sings on "The Man You Want," one of several outstanding songs on his new album "Everything I Should Have Said." Indeed, had Radney Foster never ventured beyond his partnership with Bill Lloyd under the auspices of the duo Foster & Lloyd, chances are he would still have acquired a sufficient degree of fame and prosperity. The fact that he can lay claim to a successful solo career and compositional credits for several hits recorded by others only furthers his prodigious pedigree. With a baker's dozen worth of songs hitting the upper reaches of the country music charts, Foster could very well afford to bask in his own success.
Fortunately, he's not content to stop there. And while it may be difficult to top those earlier triumphs, Foster appears undeterred when it comes to trying. "Everything I Should Have Said" proves an equitable match with such landmark efforts as "Del Rio, TX 1959," "Are Your Ready For The Big Show?" and "Another Way To Go," albums that established him as both a leading light in modern country realms and an artist that offers little pretence but plenty of passion. The new album contains its share of well-worn ballads - "California," "Mine with the Morning" (a superb duet with Patty Griffin) and "The Man You Want" being among the best, but the range of emotion takes him well beyond the lowered gaze generally associated with the usual self-pitying types. There's the rugged remorse of the tile track, the fierce determination driving "Lie About Loving Me" and the deft good old boy sentiments that amplify "Holding Back." Conversational tones and honest intent make all the difference in the world.
At this point in his trajectory, Radney Foster can lay claim to being among the best in the biz. "Everything I Should Have Said" actually says it all.