Artist Spotlight: Getting Real with Randy Houser
By: Chuck Dauphin
Randy Houser is one artist that definitely falls into the category of “Real.” You will find no frills or pyrotechnics with a Houser song, you’ll just find great lyrics, incredible vocals, and as Bill Cosby used to say on the intro of his Fat Albert cartoon series, if you’re not careful, you just might learn something before you’re done. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll take the word of my eleven-year old daughter.
On a recent trip to Jacksonville, the two of us were listening to Houser’s latest disc, They Call Me Cadillac, and a particular cut was of interest to my daughter----not a 2:30 ditty about being Country (those, after all don’t exist in Houser’s world!), but the bluesy “Somewhere South Of Memphis.” Needless to say, we listened to the song more than a few times on that trip!
It’s that kind of attention that fans---of all ages---pay to Houser and his music. “I think that kids just know what they like,” he says. “They may not understand it, but they like the sounds. There might be key little phrases in the song that might catch their ear over and over. I think they pick up on truthfulness and key pieces of a song. Who knows what they like about it? They may not be able to tell you, but I think we as songwriters, journalists, and critics---we can over think things in a hurry,” as a smile comes across his face. “Then, it’s like,”Well, thank goodness that we don’t have to go through a big discussion about it,” referring to the countless A&R meetings and focus group meetings that take place before a song is actually released.
“Houser Fever” tends to run a little rampant since the release of his debut single, “Anything Goes,” from 2008. One person who got caught up in the wave was CBS Late Show host David Letterman, who was so enamored with the song that he invited Houser onto his show, and has invited him back on a couple of occasions.
“I don’t know how much he listens to Country Music, but he picked up on “Anything Goes,” and really loved it,” said Houser. “Then, he asked us to come play on the show. At the time, I didn’t have a song in the Top-40, and didn’t have one. So, nobody knew who I was----I’m not saying that many do now, but at the time I was brand new. So, that was pretty amazing. “
Also amazing is the quality of the new disc, of which the Show-Dog / Universal artist says he is very proud of. “On the second album, I paid pretty close attention and made the album I wanted to make, and didn’t let anyone tell me no. I love this album and think it has a good chance to be heard. “
Radio has been serviced with a powerful new track from the album. “The new single is called ‘In God’s Time.’ It’s a real important song to me. It’s about how things happening not when you want them to, or how you want them to happen, but letting God take care of things.
Inspirational themes are all over Houser’s music, including the emotional final track, “Lead Me Home.” Of that track, Houser noted that “I wrote that song with a buddy of mine, Craig Monday, years ago about our fathers , and what things they might have seen, just imagining what it would be like to cross over from this life to whatever’s next.”
He is joined on the track “Addicted” by Lee Ann Womack, which he says was a thrill. “That may be my favorite cut on the record,” he says with a smile. “She did a great job, and it’s a really cool song. She’s one of my top ten favorite singers of all time. She is so good and so natural. You can’t fake real. She is who she is. I love her so much. I think she’s amazing. “
Fans can also hear Houser on the new tribute album to Waylon Jennings, Waylon: The Music Inside. He contributed a version of Jennings’ classic 1975 hit “I’m A Ramblin’ Man” that differs from the original. Houser slows the tempo down, turning it into a track that you just might hear in a Mississippi roadhouse. “I felt like one of the biggest things that Waylon was a part of was changing the industry and making sure that artists could make music the way they wanted to make it. Everybody has done ‘I’m A Ramblin’ Man’ like Waylon, and I played it in clubs like that over the years, but I felt like doing something special to it because I felt like I could interpret the lyric a little better if I did it my own way. I was a little scared of it, but at the end of the day he would have been proud that I did it the way I felt it.”
The Delta sound is all over the Mississippi-born Houser’s music. “I think it show a lot. If you listen to the albums, you still hear tinges of it mine. I don’t think it can go anywhere. I think it becomes a part of you, just like your hand, and it’s gonna have a little bit of a reflection every time you make music. Also, I think Country and Blues are very directly correlated. All of them kind of come from the same place. In a lot of ways, Country is the ‘White Boy Blues.’ I guess I have a little bit of both running through me.”
Houser is really excited about what is coming around the corner in 2011. “We’ve got a big tour coming up---me and Jamey Johnson, and Lee Brice and a bunch of other folks are going on tour with Willie for the ‘Summer Throwdown’ tour. That’s really exciting for me right now----to go tour with my heroes. I can’t tell you how excited I am to go hang out with my biggest influences.”
For more information about Randy, check out His Website!