Americana journeyman Reed Foehl was on his way to make a new home in Nashville, looking to expand on the success he found in co-writing “Fly” off of Lee Ann Womack’s Grammy-nominated album The Way I’m Livin’. But then news came from Massachusetts where his mother was diagnosed with lymphoma. Without hesitation, he dropped everything and flew to Massachusetts to be by her side. While he cared for his dying mother he continued to write his music. Foehl’s latest solo album, his fifth, consists of the music written during this trying time in his life. Lucky Enough, released February 1, is dedicated to the memory of his mother, “the Queen of Everything,” who instilled a love for music in him at an early age.
The songs, borne from loss, are steeped in deep reflection, but also instill a sense of hope and love while exploring themes of lifelong friendship. Foehl employed the help of friends in bringing his new tunes to life, with Austin’s The Band of Heathens fleshing out a full band sound. They also recorded in the Heathens’ new studio with guitarists Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi co-producing as well.
The short but dense set opens with a nugget of folk perfection. “Stealing Starlight” is one of those tracks with nary a false note or turn. Every moment was meant to be, from each cymbal crash and sparse piano plink, to the mysterious wailing noise emerging midway through. You’ll likely want to hit rewind a play through a couple of times before moving on.
When an album opens that well, the rest is just gravy. But here it’s still damn good gravy! It’s chock full of catchy new-folk hooks, country bar singalongs, and twangy ballads all featuring an earnest down-home voice with plenty of range. Familiar enough to sound like it’s coming from your front porch but good enough that you’d want to see it played in a beautiful old theater.
Key tracks: Stealing Starlight, Wish I Knew, He’s On an Island