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Radney Foster

This World We Live In – 2006 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Radney Foster

It isn't unusual to find musical marriages of rock and country, yet often it is a union of convenience and not a true melding of the souls. Radney Foster has created the mixture here, which is both palatable and potent.

The Texan is a songwriter to a much larger extent than he is a performer. While this new disc does nothing to disguise his roots or his compositional skills, it does bring his abilities to deliver a tune to the foreground stronger than ever.

On 9 of the 10 songs, he shares writing credits. His one solo effort, "Kindness of Strangers" is the most tender, tragic and yet uplifting of the set. "The kindness of stranger/The kisses of angels/And letting go even though/The heartache's all you can trust."

The most thought-provoking piece is "Half of My Mistakes," which takes the idea behind the Garth Brooks' hit "The Dance" and makes the message more inclusive and less dramatic. The flawless background vocals of Kim Richey help him pull it off.

Much of the disc's rock edge can be tied to the wonderful guitar stylings of rock studio whiz Waddy Wachtel. Yet all of the humanity and heart offered belong to Foster.