W204There are as many ways to write a great song as there are great songwriters. Is it about inspiration? Or is it more about perspiration, as Thomas Edison suggested? For some, it comes down to trepidation.

For Radney Foster, it’s a combination of at least the first two. He has been one of Nashville’s most respected songwriters since 1986, when he and Bill Lloyd formed Foster & Lloyd. After charting with nine singles, the duo split up and Foster released his acclaimed and evocative solo debut, Del Rio, TX, in 1992.

Over the following years, Foster charted 13 Top 10 singles, one of which, “Nobody Wins,” peaked at No. 2 in 1993. His songs have been covered successfully by Gary Allan, the Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, Jack Ingram, Keith Urban and other Country standouts.

It’s been a while, though, since the East Texas native returned to the studio to record a series of new material. Throughout Everything I Should Have Said, releasing May 13 on his own Devil’s River Records, the music reflects the thoughtfulness and narrative craft his peers recognize as hallmarks of his work. There’s playfulness too, and perspective, which Foster obtained in part by leaving Music City to lay tracks at Dockside Studios in Louisiana bayou country.

Speaking with CMA Close Up at his home studio in Nashville, Foster opened up on how he conceived and finessed several highlights on Everything I Should Have Said.

“Whose Heart You Wreck” video: