Written by eastside resident, Tammy Whaley
Randy Foster cannot imagine living life without a passion or a mission. Luckily for music lovers, Randy has both.
“Music has always been my passion and now I have a mission to pay great tribute to the incredible musicians and bands, both past and present, who are a product of Spartanburg,” said Randy. “Spartanburg has such a storied history of music. The musical talent from this community is unheard of and I thought there should be a way to showcase or shine a spotlight on that past and present musicians of Spartanburg.”
Combining his passion and mission, the retired Spartanburg High School teacher has a bright spotlight pointed directly at the Spartanburg music scene. The result? A project five years in the making that transforms Randy’s love for songwriting into a double CD that will be released on February 7, 2019 at the Chapman Cultural Center.
There Goes The Neighborhood features 24 songs covering a wide range of genres, all written by Randy and performed by five choirs and more than 70 singers and musicians.
“It was a bit of a challenge to write so many different styles of music but I think it turned out well,” said Randy, who harmonizes on several songs only sings lead vocals on three of the 24. “When you're looking for skill or talent to record a song and make it the best it can be, you have to put ego aside. “This project is not about me. It’s about the musicians here in town. I’m fortunate enough to be able to write songs.”
There Goes The Neighborhood is a definite labor of love and one that Randy spent a tremendous amount of time organizing and scheduling artists for the recording studio. He is quick to issue a disclaimer that while the CD features remarkable talent, he could not include every musician in the project. Shane Pruitt, Bill Fletcher, Freddie Vandever, Brandon Turner, Fayssoux McClean, Matthew Knights, Paul Riddle, Frank Wilkie, Sparkletones, Mattie Walsh, Macedonia Baptist Church Choir, Baker Mautsby, and Back 9 are just a few of the participating artists. Randy also had the good fortune of featuring Kristin Scott Benson, banjoist with The Grascals who won the Steve Martin Banjo Award, and her husband Wayne, an internationally known mandolin player, on a track.
“I could write 50 more songs and still not be able to include every deserving musician,” said Randy, who frequently performs throughout the region and is a founding member and guitarist for the Grand Strand Band. “Logistics and proximity were the driving forces in determining which artists to feature on There Goes The Neighborhood.”
With a long and storied history with music, Randy knows his way around a recording studio. It was this knowledge that allowed him to tackle the mammoth task of selecting artists for each song, booking them in the studio, and layering the music and vocals.
He even reached back to That’s The Sun, a 1968 song recorded by his band The New Generation that included original Marshall Tucker Band members Tommy Caldwell and Doug Gray along with Ross Hannah, Dan Powell, and Keith Wood.
It’s So Easy is a song of Randy’s from his Grand Strand days that is dedicated to his late son, W.G. Foster. Randy removed his vocals from the song so that Gia Diamaduros could record it for the CD.
“There Goes The Neighborhood has definitely been a labor of love,” said Randy. “There is such a legacy of talented musicians in Spartanburg. I just hope this project inspires future musicians."