Picks and Pans Review: Labor of Love

updated 04/17/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/17/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Radney Foster

A handsome, bookish-looking Texan, the son of a lawyer and a teacher, Foster released a fine solo debut, Del Rio, TX 1959, in late '92. Labor of Love, though cut from the same first-class cloth, doesn't hit quite as many highs. Foster, who writes or cowrites most of his material, could have used another six months to come up with a song or two as good as the album's disarming closer, "Making It Up As I Go Along." Foster's knack for simple, buoyant melodies, his clear (if unspectacular) tenor and his fondness for a good old shuffle beat, put one in mind of his fellow south Texas native Rodney Crowell. In fact, Foster is making a strong bid for a piece of Crowell's crown as Nashville's ranking purveyor of clear-eyed, tough-minded love songs. So watch out, Rodney; Radney's comin' on. (Arista)

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