Singer/songwriter, Radney Foster, is a country music legend. His 1990s songs, like “Nobody Wins” and “Call Me Lonesome,” catapulted him to national fame and helped him take his place among some of country music’s greats. We spoke with Radney briefly while he was on tour.
How did your interest in country music begin?
My grandfather sang Jimmie Rogers and Hank, Sr. songs. My father sang Merle Haggard and Jim Reeves songs. Growing up in Del Rio, the border radio station XERF was playing what we think of now as outlaw country – people like Waylon Jennings, Asleep at the Wheel, Willie Nelson, Dave Dudley… anything that would keep the truckers awake! So, that’s where it all started. Country music was ingrained in me at an early age.
When you were younger, did you aspire to be a singer or did you have another career choice in mind?
When I was in college, I thought I’d go to law school, like my dad, and go home and take over the family law practice. But playing the guitar, writing songs and singing got in the way of that. I never got to law school.
What do you miss about Texas?
I miss West Texas a lot. The border culture in Del Rio, and the wide open spaces can’t be beat. People there look at things differently because of those wide open spaces.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love fly fishing in the Hill Country. I love going after small mouth bass in the rivers and chasing red fish along the coast.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, and everyone was quarantined, what did you do?
I was off the road for 16 months, longer than I’d ever been. My kids are also musicians and because none of us were able to play, we started hanging out in the studio – and made a jazz, exotica record. Sort of a modern take on the exotica artists Esquivel and Martin Denny. That never would have happened if it hadn’t been for the pandemic because we wouldn’t have had the time and space. The record is a lot of fun. It’s called Exotic Sounds for a Brighter Tomorrow by the Space Cadet Quintet. It comes out in August.
What is one fun fact most people (or few people) would not know about you?
I studied forestry and geology in college. And all that means is that I know what woods are in my guitars!
What has satisfied you the most in your career?
The ability to be creative in lots of different fields, like songwriting, producing, and acting. I think my search for the creative spark led to writing a book of short fiction that went with my last album. I’m currently working on another book, and writing a screenplay with my wife, based on one of the stories from my For You To See The Stars album.
Talk about your upcoming concerts in Texas.
This fall marks the 30th anniversary of my debut album, Del Rio, TX 1959. So we’re doing a tour where we’ll play the whole record, from top to bottom (and throw in some later hits at the end). I’m really looking forward to it. My co-producer on the album, Steve Fishell, is coming out to play steel guitar. I can’t name names, but there will be some special guests joining me on certain dates.
Upcoming Texas Tour Dates:
10/20 – Kessler Theater, Dallas, TX
10/21 – The Heights, Houston, TX
10/22 – Gruene Hall, New Braunfels, TX
11/2 – The Dosey Doe, The Woodlands, TX
11/4 – Rockbox, Fredericksburg, TX
11/5 – Barnhill Center, Brenham, TX with Darden Smith – NOT A DEL RIO, TX SHOW
11/11 – Bosque Arts Center, Clifton, TX –
11/12 – The Red Rooster, Hawkins, TX
11/13 – Graham Memorial Aud., Graham, TX
11/19 – Paul Poag Theater, Del Rio,
12/9 – The Bugle Boy, LaGrange, TX
12/10 – Third Coast Theater, Port Aransas, TX
Cover photo courtesy Radney Foster
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.