Radney Foster

See What You Want to See (Arista Austin)

Harkening back to the smart country/pop stylings of Foster & Lloyd, Radney Foster's third solo outing, See What You Want to See, is also his best. While it's patently obvious that the boyish Del Rio, Texas singer-songwriter still resides and records in Nashville -- those soaring power choruses ("Raining on Sunday," "Angry Heart"), the presence of the ubiquitous Emmylou Harris -- Foster's steely-eyed snapshot of love gone sour on the lead-off track, "I've Got a Picture," screams adult radio like direct-deposit payola. The adjoining "I'm In," featuring labelmate/Austinite Abra Moore, is good enough to guarantee its own radio edit in the near future. Better yet, the adult-oriented Bruce and Charlie Robison-style grit of "The Kiss" and the smoldering album highlight "You Were So Right" are what contemporary commercial country is about -- if such a format existed. The deep, rich Hammond B3 organ and Wurlitzer piano backdrop on See What You Want to See sparkle with Jay Joyce's Mark Knopfler-like guitar tones, while veteran session man Bob Glaub, his bass, and his baritone axe add more atmosphere to the proceedings. The funky "Folding Money" guests another Foster rostermate, one accustomed to getting a good guitar sound: Sister 7's Patrice Pike. Say what you want to say about Radney Foster, but the boy has a handsome photo album worth spending some time flipping through.

3 stars -- Raoul Hernandez

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