Reporting Kurt Wolff
All this week, Radio.com is taking a Country Jet Set Tour of the American South, traveling to seven cities to see seven different artists in seven consecutive days. And this isn’t any ordinary road trip either, as we’re traveling by private jet! Below is our third installment. Stay tuned for daily updates.
Day Three: Charleston, South Carolina
Randy Houser, it turns out, is a funny guy. Before his show at the Music Farm in Charleston, South Carolina last night (Oct. 23), he proved friendly, relaxed, at times self-effacing (“I’m trying not to screw it up” he said at one point about his current success), and definitely not afraid to goof around. Witness, for instance, the picture (above), shot upstairs in the club’s Green Room. Or the fact that he’s well known for his laugh.
Houser’s big wide grin and easygoing personality translated well in concert, too. At the Music Farm, he took the stage with a full band in tow and, busting straight into a rowdy version of his song ”Sunshine on the Line,” quickly had the sold-out crowd screaming, hands in the air nearly the entire night.
That level of enthusiasm makes sense, as Houser has had two back-to-back No. 1 hits this year, “How Country Feels” and most recently “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight.” Both are from his third studio album How Country Feels, released this past January.
As you might imagine, from a career perspective the last year has been huge for the Mississippi native.
“We’ve had an awesome year,” Houser told Radio.com during an interview in Charleston. “Mostly, a lot of things fell into place.”
See, that’s where the self-effacing business comes into play. Still, he is experienced enough to know that the level of success that he’s now experiencing doesn’t happen by working alone.
“I think we just found the right people to work with,” Houser continued. “I have to give so much credit to my record label Stoney Creek, and the team I have around me, my producer Derek George. My band. The biggest thing is, somehow, I guess somebody prayed a lot or something [laughs], but I’ve been able to surround myself with good people who actually believe in what I’m doing. We’ve had people who just stuck their necks out. I’ve just got a ton of support. It’s been awesome.”
And having been in the music business for over a decade now, he also has perspective. “I’ve seen it without [that level of support], it’s completely different. I’m very thankful.”
Of course, all that support wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the strength of Houser’s music. How Country Feels is packed with strong songs, from hard-hitting rockers like the title track to powerful ballads such as “The Singer,” “Like a Cowboy” and “Along for the Ride.”
The latter song Houser wrote with Zac Brown and Levi Lowrey. And it’s one that he said he relates to right now.
“When I wrote that song it was definitely one my lowest points career wise, and probably personally, too,” he said. That said, though, he explained that it’s very much a “positive song” that he wrote partly in order to “encourage” himself.
“To me, ['Along for the Ride'] is not saying ‘just throw your hands up and let whatever happens happen.’ It’s believing that good things are happening. I wrote that song during a period when things weren’t good, but I still believed that things would get good, just had faith.”
Houser began writing it alone one night, but got stuck. That’s where Brown and Lowrey came into the picture. They were all at a music festival, and Houser called on his friends the next morning to help him finish it.
“That’s the way songs go sometimes,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a team to put the puzzle together.”
Houser’s latest single is “Goodnight Kiss,” a song that the crowd in Charleston were plenty familiar with. Hands (and cell phones) jumped in the air as soon as the familiar rhythm kicked into gear, and Houser belted out the lyrics with his strong voice.
“‘Goodnight Kiss’ was a song I wrote with Rob Hatch and Jason Sellers, two of my great buddies,” Houser explained. “I started thinking about that idea [of] how many times, when I was a kid, that I would want to start the night with a goodnight kiss,” which would get that scary ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ moment out of the way right away. “You get nervous, because it’s a big deal, a scary moment.”
It doesn’t matter what age you’re at though, Houser said, because that feeling “is something that everybody can identify with.”
Whether he was belting a soulful powerhouse like “Anything Goes” (a highlight from last night’s show), or rocking the house with “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” It was clear from the reaction to the Charleston crowd that Houser’s music is resonating strongly.
And Houser is still genuinely amazed by where his career–and life–is at these days.
“There have been a lot of things that have surprised me and taken by storm,” he said. “I’m kind of just going with the flow.” And, he added with a grin, “trying not to screw it up.”
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