Meredith Foster performed her first full set of original songs at Awendaw Green | Photo by Ruta Smith

Singer-songwriter Meredith Foster grew up surrounded by music. 

“We had more guitars than people at our house,” Foster said. “I think the guitar-to-person ratio is probably like 5-to-1.”

Hailing from St. Louis, Foster grew up with a blues musician father and rock-enthusiast mother. She began singing at the age of 6 and taught herself guitar when she was about 13.

“When my friends [were] listening to, like, Miley Cyrus and that whole thing … I was listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan,” Foster said. Though she and her father played gigs together, she was initially more drawn to the idea of being a songwriter. 

Foster was studying at the University of Mississippi when she discovered a local coffee shop and a dive bar that revived her sense of what it means to be an artist. She was able to connect with older musicians who had experience writing music with soul, who felt the value of storytelling. 

“I think that’s really where my songwriting took root,” she said.

After graduating, Foster made her way to Charleston sight-unseen and quickly searched for a community. 

“I am a big supporter of small business,” she said. “I love everything local. I crave that authenticity.” 

Foster stumbled upon Elliotborough Mini Bar, and after her first open mic night, she felt it would become something of a second home. 

“It was an opportunity to turn 25 strangers into 25 friends,” she said.

This last summer, she had the incredible opportunity to meet Dean Dillon, the storied songwriter of hits such as “Tennessee Whiskey,” and George Strait’s “The Chair.”

This last fall she, she secured a spot playing at Awendaw Green’s Barn Jam, which was her first chance to perform her original music solo. She returns to Awendaw Green on Feb. 16.

Foster’s music conveys a fresh Americana sensibility melded with poetic narrative lyricism. In December, she celebrated her first release, which was a live version of a song called “Love’s Lost and Found.” It’s country in the sense that it relies heavily on storytelling, but also because of Foster’s smoldering twang. You can feel the song’s old-school roots — it’s less the bedazzled Instagram country of today, and more the folksy, mournful country of the classics.

Following this release, and the experience of playing her own songs live, Foster is considering honing her skills as a performer, rather than just a songwriter. Moving into 2022, she has a goal of releasing a full EP and seeing what happens. 

“I always say if life hands you one, take a chance.”