Twenty-one years after going their separate ways, Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd are reuniting for their fourth studio album, It’s Already Tomorrow. The 13-song collection, all co-written by Foster and Lloyd, finds the duo fully entrenched in their element, amidst country rock grooves and sharp lyrics with a focus on intricate vocal harmonies.
Though the duo hasn’t released a new album since 1990’s Version of the Truth, Radney and Bill continued to meet through the years, keeping their writing partnership very much alive. They reunited onstage for a recent Americana Music Association fundraiser and found that the magic was most definitely still there. Songwriting sessions became more frequent and eventually the decision was made to go back into the studio.
It’s Already Tomorrow opens with the ringing guitar hook of the uptempo title track. “It’s already tomorrow, how did we get here so fast?” Foster sings through the chorus as Lloyd harmonizes to match the guitars. And though the song’s reflective gaze is cast on a loving wife, you can’t help but note how perfectly appropriate the lines seem in the context of the return from a two-decade hiatus. The album’s lyrics are smart throughout, like on the fantastic funk/swamp country groove of “Picasso’s Mandolin” (co-written with Guy Clark and featuring the great Sam Bush on mandolin). “The fork in the road is a piece of cake/ You got to eat the one you take,” Foster and Lloyd sing about finding one’s own voice and staying true to it.
On the piano-based ballad “If It Hadn’t Been For You,” the duo shows off their harmonies with flowing melodies through lines like, “If it hadn’t been for you, I might’ve never bought a ticket for the ride of this crazy life/ Learn to love the twists and turns, the ups and downs, with you by my side.” Here, the music, harmonies and words work together to form an elegant visual, though the overall sound still maintains the loose feel that carries through the album. Riding steady on the electric motor of distorted guitars, the rockin’ driving song “Hold That Thought” illustrates how seductive the right combination of a loose groove and word choice can be before Foster and Lloyd sing, “Honey, hold that thought ‘til I get there.”
And here they are, twenty-one years later as a friendship and shared musical history bring them together again. Foster and Lloyd’s new work has the familiarity of bumping into an old friend only to realize it feels like no time has passed at all. To borrow a line when you haven’t skipped a beat, “It’s already tomorrow, how did we get here so fast?”