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Radney Foster discovers the world we live in

By Dawn Pomento, June 2006

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Foster says the song, which is about taking risks and not being afraid to fall, was autobiographical for both of them. Regardless who records the result of the songwriting sessions, the songs take on a life of their own on tour. Foster says, "And different venues can make a difference in that too. Certainly 'Drunk on Love' and 'Big Idea' off this record sort of explode in the big honky tonks and the hose-it-down-at-the-end-of-the-night rock clubs - both of which I tend to play - because they're fun songs."

Foster also plays more intimate venues, where he says more sedate songs like 'Kindness of Strangers' goes over especially well. He schedules his touring through the week around time at home with his family. And he stops touring altogether during July and August, when his oldest son is able to come from France for an extended visit. His enthusiasm for new musicians is nothing compared to what he has to say about family life.

Foster explains how he structures his time to fit his music career around his family. "First of all being a dad is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I'd take that over making music any day of the week, although I think music and being a dad are an integral part of my life. And being a husband too. Those are what make life. You want to go on and increase your capacity for love. Just like a guy who goes to work at eight and comes home at five has to make time for his family."

His paternal responsibilities don't just determine his work days, they also lead to some of his most beloved songs. "I have a little acoustic record (The Back Porch Sessions) that I did that's only available on my website. And on that acoustical record there's a song called "Little Babies Like To Suck on Their Toes" that I wrote about my daughter. At about nine months of age, she finally got to where she could yank that foot up to her mouth, and that became her favorite thing to put in her mouth. At most of my shows, even with the band, I tend to do a couple of songs acoustically, in the middle of the set. And that's one of the ones that people just start screaming. It's pretty amazing to see a bunch of fairly inebriated college kids singing along to 'Babies Like to Suck on Toes.'"

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, one of the biggest songs of Foster's career is "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)," a lullaby written for his oldest son when he was five and moving to France. "I recorded it, and it became, in my little world, a popular song to close my shows with," Foster says. When the Dixie Chicks recorded it on their last album "Home," Foster received e-mails and letters from families all over the world."

"You don't know humble until a guy with his hair cut high and tight walks up to you after a show, with his wife and kids in tow, and says, 'Mr. Foster, I'm Captain So-and-so, and I sang that song 'Godspeed' to my kids every chance I got on the phone the last year and a half when I was in Iraq.'" As Foster recounts the story, he clearly empathizes with the father's emotions. But he doesn't claim any credit for them. "It let's you know that songs take on a life of their own, and that doesn't have anything doing with me. It just has to do with the thing itself," Foster explains.

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