What midlife crisis?
You'd never know it from spinning Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd's sparkling new disc, "It's Already Tomorrow."
Those familiar with this duo are high-fiving a reunion, at least in terms of recording together for the first time in over 20 years.
They were major players over a relatively brief period of mid-1980s Nashville when a new breed of singer-songwriter (Steve Earle, Dave Alvin) were making tidal waves in Music City.
Founded in 1986, Foster & Lloyd recorded three albums for RCA Records. Their Bakersfield-meets-The Byrds style was celebrated by country-pop music purists and they enjoyed a successful period with nine singles landing on the Billboard country charts.
Some four years into their marriage, Foster and Lloyd, by mutual arrangement, disbanded and opted to pursue solo careers.
Foster earned critical praise in 1992 for his 'Del Rio, Texas, 1959' project which produced an array of memorable songs, including the single, "Just Call Me Lonesome."
The Lane recalls Foster performing nearby at-then Star Lake as part of a one-day festival of aspiring country crossover acts.
In the meantime, Foster & Lloyd remained prolific writers, penning hit songs for the likes of Keith Urban and Sara Evans, among others.
Their 2010 reunion may not have occurred if not for a request from the Americana Music Association who asked the duo to consider joining forces for a fundraiser.
"It was so much fun getting back together on stage and we realized the new songs we had written together still had that magic," Foster explained.
"We decided to start getting together once a month to write. Soon, the songs were pouring out and we knew we needed to get back in the studio."
You may have a difficult time tracking down songs from the new CD but a strategic place to start is the band's website www.fosterandlloyd.com where videos are streamed highlighting the new record.
Foster & Lloyd had a hand in writing all 13 songs from the disc, including a vintage collaboration with Guy Clark on a standout track, "Picasso's Mandolin," featuring a guest appearance (not surprisingly) by Sam Bush.
Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson contributes bass and electric guitar with Keith Brogson making a statement on percussion.
"Bill was out in Las Vegas , playing with Cheap Trick on their Sgt. Pepper's orchestra production," Foster disclosed. "I went out to write with Bill and see the show. We got together with Tom afterwards and came up with 'Lucky Number,''' another engaging tune.
Lloyd says the duo's core songwriting values remain, albeit with a new generation of potential fans in mind.
"(Back then), we were concerned with trying to keep ourselves within a radio format. We would try and be different enough to stand out but we didn't want to color too far outside the lines," he suggested.
"(For the new record), we didn't have any constraints this time. The sound of this new album is unfettered by formats, either real or imagined."
In addition to Bush, Garry Tallent, original bass player for Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band, stopped by the (Nashville) studio to lend a string bass touch to the CD's closing track, "When I Finally Let You Go."
Naturally, Foster & Lloyd would have made a stellar addition to next month's Jamboree In the Hills' lineup. The duo has scheduled a handful of live dates but are expected to book dozens more in the coming weeks.
IT GOES without saying the E-Street Band has lost yet another MVP member with the sudden passing of iconic sax king Clarence Clemons.
A few years ago, I happened to catch Clemons performing solo (with a small backing band) in a southern California nightclub.
Like Springsteen, the Big Man enjoyed spinning a few (between songs) tales of life on the road and his brilliant body of work as an E-Street member...
NEW YORK-based singer/songwriter Deni Bonet will be performing at Wheeling's Riverfront Wednesday on July 13th.
Bonet is a talented under the radar artist whose resume includes gigs at Austin's famed South/By Southwest Festival and the Lilith Fair.
Catch Bonet and her eclectic band July 13 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Port. She also has a July 17th play date (7 p.m.) at Oglebay Park's Resort Summer Sunday Series at the Anne Kichinka Amphitheater...
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org