“I can’t hold back,” Randy Houser says of the passion and power he delivers with every song, every album, every live show of his momentous career. “I close my eyes and sing like I’m in my bedroom and no one’s watching. I sing it like God is coming out of me.” The man speaks from experience: a decade removed from his debut album, continually adding new achievements to his impressive resume, the mammoth-voiced Houser remains pounding the pavement as hard as ever, forever hitting the stage with venom, kicking up dust, scratching out those vibrant songs and colorful albums that showcase just how far this Mississippi man has come.
“I’m a songwriter. I’ve made my living that way,” Houser explains. And while the country star has started headlining arenas in select markets across the country, toured alongside some of the biggest acts in country music and unveiled chart-busting new music with seeming ease, Houser’s passion, his drive, all boils down to the singer-songwriter’s innate ability to write and perform those spine-tingling country songs that lodge themselves in your brain. Enter Fired Up: Houser’s fourth album, delivered in 2016 via Stoney Creek, and arguably his most fully realized effort yet. “There’s not much edification for me these days to write a song strictly for a paycheck,” Houser explains. “When you listen to the record, you’re not just getting a bunch of hit songs; you get to learn a little bit about me, too.”
If Fired Up feels like a meticulously plotted album, born of sweat and hard work, it’s because Houser takes his craft with the utmost seriousness. Never one to release new music until it’s primed and ready, when not on the road Houser spent several years in and out of Nashville studios, recording batches of songs at a time, crafting a 17-track LP that details his winding course through music and life. “The songs just kept stacking up,” he says of the recording process. “The only deciding factor for me of when an album is done is when you run out of time.” Ever since releasing his groundbreaking 2013 album, How Country Feels, fans have been clamoring for new music from the man Rolling Stone Country says possesses a “monstrous country voice,” but as evidenced on the album – whether in the crisp, pounding rhythm of opening track “Back” or the hard-won wisdom spun throughout the road-warrior anthem of lead single and #1 hit, “We Went,”– it’s clear Houser’s patience and persistence paid off.
Carving out a name for himself as an introspective, canny songwriter, Houser continually lays bare his hard-fought journey to the top in his music. “Just like I did the day before/I gave my all and a little more/ I earned my pay and walked out that door,” Houser sings with winsome charm on the bluesy retrospective rocker “Little Bit Older.” On “Senior Year,” Houser elegantly paints a vivid portrait of small-town America, love, charm and gritty character. “It’s having the only thing you care about beside you,” he wails, a tough-as-nails troubadour unburdening himself at every turn.
“The songs that I want to write these days are the ones that are more uniquely my story,” Houser explains. “What comes out comes out. It’s almost a leap of faith every night.” Houser’s desire to connect with his audience is why so many in country music have honored the man Taste of Country dubbed “one of the top vocal talents in Nashville” and who earned a 2015 CMA Song of the Year nomination for “Like A Cowboy.”
“Whenever I walk on that stage, I go into a complete other gear,” says Houser, all hard-charging bravado, fiery energy and arena-shaking voice onstage. “I lose myself in it for awhile. It’s really just the best escape that I can have.