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Radney Foster photo by Katherine Bomboy It’s been nearly two decades since Radney Foster’s debut solo album, Del Rio, TX 1959, charted two topio hits \(“Just Call Me Lonesome” cial-ready pop melodies and dance-hall instrumentation, Del Rio was at the vanguard of a new country music flavor, as much adult contemporary as honky-tonk. Nowadays just try finding a song on country radio that wouldn’t fit right in on VHL You can’t do it. Foster and his contemporaries made country safe for the coasts and the coasts safe for country, and the rest is multiplatinum history. The years since Foster’s salad days have been mixed for the Texas native. First he moved from Arista Nashville to the subsidiary Arista Austin label after sales started to slip with album No. 2, Labor of Love. Then he moved to independent Americana label Dualtone Music Group in 2001. This year marks Foster’s initiation into the world of self-released CDs. Even as his mass appeal faded through the ‘9os, Foster’s songwriting remained in demand in Nashville, as it had been since the mid198os. Superstars like Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks have made a buck covering Foster’s songs, confirming his legacy as a tastemaker of contemporary pop-country. Whether that legacy is something to cheer or decry is yours to decide, but Foster will make his case for the former at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Gruene New Braunfels, where he and his band, the Confessions, will celebrate the release of his latest CD, Revival. Gruene is a legendary venue of loth-century country music, so it figures that Foster, one of the people responsible for dragging country into the 21st century, would feel at home there. See for info. Josh Rosenblatt 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 21, 2009