The passion, enthusiasm and conviction in Randy Houser’s music is utterly irresistible.
One listen to his soul-drenched singing is enough to convince you that you are in the presence of a masterful performer. One scan of his deeply felt lyrics is all the proof you need to see that this is a major songwriting talent. And one meeting with this smiling, endearing, open-hearted personality is all it takes to make you believe he deserves to be a star.
That indefinable something, called charisma, is all over his exceptional debut CD. Whether plunging into sadness or leaping for joy in song, Randy Houser has what all great country artists have – believability.
The album is the capstone of an extraordinary run of good fortune for the singer-songwriter. Thanks to his riveting vocal prowess, Randy is receiving great response from both fans and radio programmers with his first single, the gripping, strikingly emotional ballad “Anything Goes.”
As illustrated in his breakthrough single, Randy Houser is a breathtaking vocalist with fire and conviction at his core. The songs he has chosen by other Nashville writers for this album are superb showcases for the vocal side of his talent. In addition to “Anything Goes,” they include the sensual “Strange” and the ultra-cool, groove-saturated “How Many Times,” the latter featuring harmony vocals by superstar Vince Gill.
Randy grew up in central Mississippi. He was born in Jackson and raised in Lake, a small town between Jackson and Meridian. Musically, it’s a region between the Blues and R&B of the Delta and the hard-core country music of the Deep South. There was always plenty of gospel music on the radio as well.
But his true musical foundation was the artistry of his father. His parents split up when he was only seven, and thereafter Randy spent summers with the professional singer and musician. Papa Houser was a fairly well known performer in the Jackson, Mississippi nightclub scene and was also a first call studio musician in and around that area for several years. After he relocated to Biloxi, young Randy decided to follow in his footsteps.
“I started writing songs right away, at 15 and 16 years old. I was already starting, because I hated playing the ‘covers’ of the hits. I knew that if I was ever going to do anything in music, I was going to have to learn to express myself. Otherwise, it was going to be the same-old, same-old.”
His father and mentor died when Randy was 21. He’d told his boy that he didn’t want to be kept alive on machines. After his father lost consciousness, this young man was put in the agonizing position of having to “pull the plug” on the mentor he idolized. That painful experience formed the basis of Randy’s emotional song “I’ll Sleep.” A few years later, Randy Houser made the big decision to move to Nashville to seek his fortune.
“I can literally say that a song changed my life,” Randy reports. “I’ll tell you how I made the decision. I was sitting at home one day and thinking, ‘God, what am I doing?’ I’d been waiting around for so long and hadn’t gone and done what I always said I was going to do. And then that song ‘Life Happened’ came on the radio, and I just started bawling. And right then, I made the decision. I was gone.
“A guitar player friend from Mississippi had moved to Nashville. He said, ‘Well, come on..’ So I came up in early 2003 with an air mattress and a pile of junk in a ’92 Cougar. Two weeks later, the engine blew up in that car. I didn’t know how I was going to make a living, but knew I had to make one”
Within two weeks of arriving, Randy ran into a woman who’d heard him perform in Mississippi. She arranged for him to sing a “demo” for a Nashville songwriter. Days later, he was getting calls to sing them all the time. Successful, Mississippi-bred songwriters Fred Knobloch and Derek George encouraged Randy. Derek took Randy to the Windswept publishing company, where Cliff Audretch, III became a booster.
Signed by Windswept in late 2003, Randy and co-writers Jamey Johnson and Dallas Davidson were on the charts with “Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk” by early 2005. Since then, Randy’s tunes have been picked up by John Michael Montgomery (“If You Ever Went Away”), Justin Moore (“Back That Thing Up”), George Canyon (“Coming From You”) and other artists. Cliff loved Randy’s own recordings of the tunes and urged producer Mark Wright to listen. Now Cliff and Mark have co-produced Randy Houser’s outstanding disc debut.
“One day, awhile back, Mark (Wright) and I were talking about singers. He said, ‘Man, the most soulful singers in history all grew up poor.’ This really rang true for me. That’s part of the reason I sound the way that I do.”