Legendary singer / songwriter Radney Foster performs in Fairhope

By Allison Marlow
Posted 3/7/18

You know Radney Foster. You know his stories.

The legendary songwriter has penned hits for Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks, Luke Bryan, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marc Broussard, Hootie & The …

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Legendary singer / songwriter Radney Foster performs in Fairhope

Posted

You know Radney Foster. You know his stories.

The legendary songwriter has penned hits for Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks, Luke Bryan, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marc Broussard, Hootie & The Blowfish, Kenny Loggins and Los Lonely Boys, to name a few.

This weekend, you can catch him behind the microphone, performing selections from “For You To See The Stars” his newly released book and CD compilation.

Foster said as a young songwriter he “wrote a song because I wanted to get up in front of somebody and play.”

Now, a little older, and a little grayer, Foster said he has learned how much the storytelling aspect of songwriting was really what drove him to the craft.

Three years ago, he was forced to put that into practice.

He suffered from a severe case of pneumonia and laryngitis and couldn’t speak for six weeks. Not a word.

Foster continued to work in silence and realized as he wrote his songs there was a bigger story buried between the notes.

He wrote his wife a note, one of many through his voiceless days. “I think there is a short story in that song Sycamore Creek and I’m going to write it to keep from going crazy.”

She teased him with a return note: “You should, you’re driving me crazy.”

One story turned into four which turned into “For You To See The Stars,” a book and CD set in which the words on the page are inspired by the notes and vice versa.

“One of the things that is fun about short stories is that some of them are in the same moment as the song but some are ancillary, they are more like siblings,” he said.

The short story “Sycamore Creek” for instance tells the story of a young boy and girl growing up. The song picks up where the short story ended and carries the reader, now listener, through the next 15 years of their adult lives.

“When you write a song what you leave out is just as important as what you put in,” Foster said. “Short fiction is the same but you get 7,000 words to do it. You’ve got to make each sentence count the same way you make each line in a song count.”

While his short stories tell the tales of a broad spectrum of characters – a little boy listening to rock ‘n roll on a transistor radio on one end and a retired spy on a New Orleans pub crawl on the other – Foster said the underlying theme in most of the pieces is redemption.

“I think sometimes I want people to maybe feel emotion towards someone they didn’t know they could,” he said.

The first story of his book is about a family riddled with broken relationships that is knit back together by a grandfather and his grandson.

“The journey of that story is about how we reconcile those relationships and it is because of forgiveness,” he said. “That is all about redemption.”