Country Music People December 2017 - Page 19

Houser himself did not foresee the success of How Country Feels, his first release on his then new label Stoney Creek following a trio of releases that barely cracked the Top 50, and the singer who recently visited the UK for the first time admits, “Yeah, I don’t know. Any time you have, I guess commercial success like that, it’s almost unexpected but always appreciated. You never know what to expect from one minute to the next in the music world and it’s crazy. I see it as so much of a roller coaster; you never know when you’re on the top of a wave or at the bottom. You just don’t know. So basically all you can do is just keep surfing.” Since How Country Feels hit the top spot Randy Houser has been riding that wave like Fast Times At Ridgemont High’s Jeff Spicoli. Runnin’ Outta Monnlight, Goodnight Kiss, the CMA Song Of The Year nominated Like A Cowboy, and We Went provided more massive hits but despite all the airplay and touring with artists like Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, Houser remains rather unlike most of his contemporaries and perhaps would rather me more of a renegade like his old running mate Jamey Johnson. Houser hints that he might be about to take steps in that direction. “I think country music has gotten so poppy and any time you can sort of step outside of that a little bit…I’ve always tried to do that a little at times, figure out a way to try to carve my own path and that’s kind of what we’re doing now. We’ve been writing a ton and recording a new project that’s the same thing. We always say the middle is very crowded right now and it seems like there’s been several times that I’d start to try something and do something new and that would become the norm, so I’d have to kind of take another path again. I’m doing that as we speak, just making sure that what we’re doing is something that I love and not just something that fits down the successful road. I’m not really into that; I just don’t really care. “I found myself in a place where you’re playing for 30,000 people and there’s a giant spectacle that comes along with that: you’re sort of expected to join in and have all the shit - all the lights and the smoke and the… My favourite thing still is to play with just me and my guitar. So I found myself in this really, almost uncomfortable place where I was sort of doing what it took to go do that and just really was like, ‘this ain’t me’. “In the future we have sort of decided to not go support other acts in the big venues, mainly because I just want to go stand on my own two feet and service the fans that want to come and see us. I want to grow my core, whatever core I’ve taken from those situations with those people, I want to service those fans and grow that with the music that I want to make.” Houser admits that this desire to get back to basics comes from his background as a songwriter, “Yeah, it definitely is,” he confirms, “but I found myself chasing my band around rather than my band chasing me around. I just wanted to bring it back down to what it is at the core and that’s one of the reasons that I’m doing these [Country Music Week] as a three piece, and I’ve been doing a lot of my shows with just my drummer and my piano player because I have…There’s not a moment where I’m supposed to step over here for a light to go off, or get this cue in my ears for some kind of other bullshit. I’ve just really enjoyed breaking it back down to the principle of the… there’s much more passion in it from my point of view, and so if it ever gets to a point where I’m playing for those massive crowds then they’re going to see what I want them to see and not…And it’s nobody’s fault but my own because I really had myself fooled into believing that that’s what you have to do to do that as well. Meanwhile just eventually going, ‘Well, this is not very comfortable’. I started to feel like I was in the entertainment business more than I was the music business.” Recently Houser claims to have been writing even more than ever but admits to a dip in his output. “I’d say the main reason that I am [writing more] is because I’d gotten to a point where I didn’t write much because I felt like there was a little bit of pressure for everything to sound like what was being done and the sort of the template that you go by in that whirl. I have kind of removed myself from that limited way of thinking and with not many expectations other than to come out the other side with something that I would like to hear. So I don’t know what it’s going to be commercially. I would love for radi