As with 1998's "See What You See," Radney Foster's latest release is as much influenced by rock and blues as it is country. The centerpiece is "Everyday Angel," a tribute to ordinary people who perform heroic acts ranging from a woman who fought for civil rights in Selma to a New York firefighter who gave his life on Sept. 11. The song, which has a mainstream country sound, is effective and tasteful as Foster avoids being overly sentimenal.
Another standout is "Scary Old World," co-written with the late Harlan Howard. Foster is joined by Chely Wright on this duet that champions the comforting effect of love ("I wouldn't be so damned afraid of what's on the evening news/If I could just wake up every morning lying next to you"). Also impressive are a pair of ballads ("Disappointing You" and "Just Sit Still") that recall the work of fellow Texan Bruce Robison, and the title track which encourages the listener to never give up on a dream ("Everybody'll tell you 'no'/ Don't ever let 'em break you down/ Look for another way to go"). Elsewhere the rock influence is heard in the Beatlesque guitars of the opening track "A Real Fine Place To Start" and "Tired of Pretending." "I Got What You Need," co-written with Hootie and the Blowfish drummer James Sonefeld, has a Memphis R&B feel.
Though it's been four years in between studio projects, this shows Foster to be in top form.