(Album Review + Interview)
Jarod Foster released a self-entitled album this week that is equally refreshing and entertaining. Foster’s ten song release incorporates every spectrum of the country lifestyle from love to recession to having a good time, but he does so with an originality and twang that is missing from most of the current pop country acts that so dominate country radio. Right off the bat, Foster comes out swinging with “Ray Ray’s”, a song previously recorded by Jamey Johnson and written by Wayd Battle and James Edwards. Foster holds his own on the track as he has a deep and throaty voice with a pronounced bravado when he annunciates that has shades of Jamey Johnson and Hank Jr.. Foster pays tribute to the working class American people on strong songs such as “Burden of a Workin’ Man” and “We Did It”. His voice really shines on a beautiful song called “She’s an Angel” which I could easily see being played on country radio as it has a smooth sound sonically with lyrics that are relatable for anyone who is in love with a woman. After my first listen, the song that really stood out to me was “Rosalita”. As a big Bruce Springsteen fan, I wondered if it was a cover of his classic, but it’s very clear upon the opening chords it is far from that. The song is a fun story song about a stripper from Tihuana and a boozy adventure with her. The song follows a similar recipe that Blake Shelton did with “Playboys of the Southwestern World” or Toby Keith with “Stays in Mexico”, but with Foster’s own edgy twist. All in all, I was very impressed with Foster’s release. His songs are topical without being commercial. And he has an edge and bravado to his presentation that work well with his distinct throaty voice. I was able to speak to him about the album and his road to becoming a Nashville singer-songwriter. Check out our conversation below: MTMS: So, right off the bat on listening to your album I heard “Ray Ray’s” and it brought me back to Jamey Johnson’s version. Are you two friends at all?
Jarod Foster: Yeah, we used to be but have sort of separated over the years. But we had a mutual friend, Wayne Mills, who was murdered in November 2013. Wayne had met Jamey Johnson and they were doing a show in Montgomery when he called me and said wait until I heard this guy. And I went to go listen to him and, man, he just blew me out of the water.
MTMS: So you are originally from Alabama?
Jarod Foster: Yes, Vincent, Alabama. Jamey was one of the guys who convinced me to move to Nashville eleven years ago. He told me that is where I needed to be to get things started. At that time Wayne (Mills) had a lot of things going with the Alabama Line.
MTMS: Since the move what have you been doing music-wise?
Jarod Foster: I’ve played my music and other people’s music since I got here. I’ve opened for great acts like Lee Brice and Randy Houser. And I’ve now recorded five albums, but this is the first I felt was good enough to release.
MTMS: How long have you been writing songs?
Jarod Foster: It’s funny, I’ve been writing songs since I was in the 4th grade. My mom told me you know your songwriting has come a long ways since the 4th grade and I said, “the fourth grade?” She then told me that I had a girl who I was “dating” then come over for Dominos by Candlelight. I recorded a song for her on a handheld tape recorder and she still has it. She said when I get my first CMA award she is going to release it.
MTMS: Besides “Ray Ray’s” did you write the rest of the songs?
Jarod Foster: All except “17” which was written by Cody Canada and recorded by Cross Canadian Ragweed. Cody has helped me a lot introducing me to the road and introducing me to the Randy Rogers Band. I met him when Ragweed was touring with Dierks Bentley in 2003 when they were playing in Jupiter one night and the night before I was opening for Wayne Mills. Cody heard me play guitar and we hung that night so “17” was my tribute to Cross Canadian Ragweed. I co-wrote “Rosalita” with Calvin Webster and my wife helped me write “Moonlight Kiss”. The rest I wrote myself.
MTMS: Was “Rosalita” written from a personal experience?
Jarod Foster: That was Calvin Webster’s personal experience. He was in the Marine’s posted in San Deigo and he and his buddies went down to Tihuana. I guess that is what all Marines do.
MTMS: I like that this album spans the spectrum of country living, any song in particular represent who you want to be personified as?
Jarod Foster: “We Did It” is probably my favorite song on the album although its hard to pick and choose. I grew up in a small town and its a place I always wanted to write a song about and I wrote that song three weeks before our second son was born. I think I wrote it in six or seven minutes. It relates to small town America and the recession people are going through. I released a Youtube video of it and got a lot of feedback from people who related to it.
MTMS: I know you are signed to RP Entertainment Nashville, what can you tell me about that relationship?
Jarod Foster: Heidi reached out to me a few years ago after I did the Wounded Warrior Project. So I met her and stayed in touch with her professionally for a few years until she told me what she was starting. When she asked me if I wanted to be part of it I told her absolutely.
MTMS: For anyone who doesn’t know you and your music yet, what could you tell the fans about your style?
Jarod Foster: Its original and not cookie cutter. It’s based off of real people I’ve met and real experiences. I’ve pretty much written it all myself so its all me. If there is a story chances are I will write a song about it down the road.
Make sure you all check out Jarod Foster’s debut album available at iTunes now: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id975714048