Up Close And Personal – 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Randy Houser
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When Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake gave that breakout performance in the 2015 CMA, you know that better things will be happening in the country music scene and Randy Houser is definitely going to be a big part of that.
The New Era of Voice may have Stapleton’s big booming vocals, but the soothing and soulful Houser is its brokenhearted weepy whisper among empty bottles of beer and whiskey.
The Mississippi native path to success has been a meandering journey with pauses and stops, mighty like a lone traveler going down south real fast. But in real and recent life, things have been looking up since he released his 2008 debut album “Anything Goes”. With 4 studio albums and 3 number 1 hits under his belt, let’s get close and personal with Houser as he gears up for the Las Cruces Music Festival in October later this year.
#5 – Songs of Sorrow and Self
Houser was known first as a songwriter before he sang out his lonely heart in the one-night stand breakout hit “Anything Goes”. He penned Trace Adkins’ 2005 hit “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and was a member of Trailer Park, a group of 6 Nashville-based songwriters way back in 2004.
“Any of the rewards or accolades are very nice…but the music is what saves me. And it did. I would write my way out of any kind of depressing period.”
He doesn’t have a steady preference of whether writing solo or in collaboration with other songwriters which he does more often, but one thing Houser knows about his songwriting is that he won’t limit his songs to become radio-friendly.
“I don’t want to limit myself…every time I go in a room to write. It’s constructive. It makes you color in lines…” Houser says in a Rolling Stone Interview.
#4 – Live and Out of Control (Sort Of)
Houser is known for his great lives, carried mostly by his stirring voice and soulful sound. Think of heartbreak and sunset in a roomful of strangers. Think of first loves and lonely highways. Think of making it through the night. Think of acoustic guitar and his vocals carrying on in front of an awed audience of thousands. That’s the sound of a Randy Houser live.
He prefers live performances, and his studio albums are springboards for being in front of a live audience. “It’s my favorite thing to do. I have the most control there and sometimes control means being out of control,” Houser says.
“I sing loud and proud, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
#3 – The Show Must Always Go On
Houser says that before he goes on stage, “I just walk off from everybody. I just go to the side of the stage…and close my eyes and visualize…just close myself from everybody and then I’m ready to go.”
That focus makes his a live performance wunderkind. His greatest vocal moments, he shuts his eyes as if he is just singing in the moment, immersed in the song as if nothing matters but the music. And he affirms it, “I’m closing my eyes and pretending I’m by myself … my voice fly out for the right reasons.”
It is this focus that made him finish off a song in front of 60,000 fans in Nashville football stadium and go solo with just his voice and his acoustic guitar because his in-ears weren’t working.
It is also why he decided to give a free concert with pal Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory when the music festival in Santa Margarita, California got canceled at the last-minute. Tyler Farr and Jade Jackson joined the impromptu April gig last year.
Houser also turns off the “peepee switch” so the show is always on.
#2 – Willie is The GOAT
Houser is known as a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, and he acknowledges the influence of southern rock in general and the group in particular in his own music. His “A Simple Man” cover is also pretty well-known. So well-known that it’s the song he covers the most.
But when it comes to the Greatest of All Time, Houser chooses country music legend, Willie Nelson. “I think for me, in true American music, my all-time icon is Willie Nelson,” he affirms in an AP interview earlier this year. Houser admires the electrifying and almost mystical guitar-playing, the brilliant songwriting, and the unique nasal Nelson vocals that makes Nelson a true American icon.
It doesn’t hurt that Nelson is the all-time favorite of Randy Houser’s dad.
#1 – It’s a Good Life
Believe it or not, Houser is an ordained minister and officiated on his friend Rob Hatch’s 2012 wedding to wife Shannon.
“I am a spiritual person, but I think there’s a complete difference between being spiritual and being religious.”
Houser talks about God and love in the same vein, loving and loving and respecting others, and helping those in need. Most of all, he says that there are times it’s just better to turn the other cheek and not talk with our fists if things are going bad.
Hearing that you get it why his music has the soulful timbre, why he gets emotional watching movies, and why he is always going to be one of country music’s great vocalists and live performers. His soul is out on his sleeve, and it’s shining bright and light.