7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999 or www.mcgonigels.com.
Like Stephen Bruton on his final albums, Radney Foster seems to be hung up on the spiritual side of things as he approaches 50. Foster's new Revival is filled with portentous titles like "Forgiveness," "Angel Flight," "Life Is Hard (Love Is Easy)" and "I Made Peace With God." This is the territory where the average songwriter quickly submerges below the quicksand of banality or pretentiousness, but Foster and his muscular band the Confessions are strong and sure of their purpose, dealing us a most impressive album. There are a few slightly cloying moments, but overall the content and playing are so strong that those moments of poetic excess must be forgiven. From the opening stanzas of "A Little Revival," which recalls Foster's best work like "Folding Money," you just know this is really going to work, and when lead guitarist Eric Borash cuts loose on his solo, Revival blasts off toward the anthemic heavens. By track three, "Until It's Gone," with the prophetic line "I'm gonna turn it up, I'm gonna play it loud," Foster and his band are rocking completely off the hook on a song that is easily one of the best rockers of Foster's career. Before it's over, it's readily apparent that Foster has hit the bull's-eye and that Revival will certainly be in the top Americana albums of 2009.