I had lunch with Randy Houser on Friday. Sort of.
I was eating lunch here at the News-Post offices, Randy was in Harris, Michigan, and the chat was by phone. Close as I’ll probably get to actually having lunch with him.
Randy will be at The Event Center at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, on Saturday, Feb. 7. The show starts at 8 p.m. This relatively new venue opened in July.
We covered a lot of territory in my 15 allotted minutes for the phone interview — from finding success in Nashville to fatherhood.
His current single is in the Top 5, “Like a Cowboy,” and the accompanying video has Randy doing a bit of acting, and performing of course. It was shot at Old Tucson Studios in Tucson, Arizona.
“It was a ton of fun,” he said of making the video. “Fortunately I had other actors there that were my friends. I didn’t need coaching. Basically, I just played me.” This wasn’t his first acting rodeo. Randy appeared in a few scenes of a Kix Brooks film, “Ambush at Dark Canyon.” He played Cad Skinner.
Randy moved to Nashville in 2002, from tiny Lake, Mississippi. He said in the last census, the population of Lake was about 413. “It’s a very small town. Everybody knows everybody’s business. It’s one of those places,” he said, adding he still keeps in touch with a lot of his friends back home.
“I miss my little Mississippi town,” he said.
In 2013, the state of Mississippi designated Sept. 5 as Randy Houser Day and he was given the keys to nearby Meridian, Miss., in recognition of his contribution to the area’s rich musical heritage.
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” Houser said of the honor. “It’s huge to have your home state to recognize what you’ve done.”
Randy said he’s been playing guitar since he was 4 years old. His dad, who died in 1997, “taught me to play a guitar. I’m the kind of person who just picked it up. It’s just what I do,” he said.
He’s also got a powerhouse voice — intense, soulful, emotional and fun when it’s needed (think “Boots On”). He can pack a song with the same emotion as Ronnie Dunn, another of the great voices of country.
“I’ve heard that my entire career,” Randy said. “I don’t try to sound like him, I sing like I talk.”
Being a dad has given him a new perspective on a lot of things. His son, West, is 2 years old. “Being a father definitely changes you as a person. You don’t know how much love you have inside, I didn’t know how much love I had in me until I saw that little boy.
“When it comes to singing, to my song writing, there’s things I don’t want to sing about any more, like getting drunk, knowing he’ll hear it some day,” Randy said.
He’s also looking forward to teaching West to hunt and fish, play guitar, and having him out on the tour bus … “Just doing Dad stuff,” he said. “He literally is my best friend.”
After his Charles Town show, Randy joins Luke Bryan on the remaining dates on Bryan’s That’s My Kind of Night Tour and will continue on the road with him and guest Dustin Lynch on the Kick The Dust Up Tour, which starts in May. That tour stops at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., for two shows, June 26 and 27.
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Feb. 11 – Travis Tritt, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
Feb. 12 – Eric Paslay, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, Woodbridge, Va.
Feb. 14 – Kacey Musgraves, Rams Head Live, Baltimore
Feb. 14 – Ronnie McDowell, The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.
Feb. 14 – Sam Hunt, The Fillmore, Silver Spring
Feb. 14 – Lee Brice, Thompson Square, Josh Thompson, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pa.
Feb. 15 – Ronnie McDowell, American Legion Hall, Rosedale
Feb. 20, 21 and 22 – Punch Brothers, 9:30 Club, Washington
Feb. 21 – Love and Theft, Cadillac Three, Trailer Choir, Tom Dixon
Feb. 24 – Travis Tritt, Pullo Performing Arts Center, York, Pa.
Feb. 26 – Joe Nichols, The Fillmore, Silver Spring
Feb. 27 – The Seldom Scene, The Bankester, The Grass Cuts, Sheraton Tysons Hotel, Vienna, Va.
March 5 – Pat Green, 9:30 Club, Washington
March 7 – Kenny Rogers, Patsy Cline Theater, Winchester, Va.
March 7 – Radney Foster, Hill County Barbecue Market, Washington
March 10 – Eric Church, Verizon Center, Washington
March 20 – The Oak Ridge Boys, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
March 26 – Kacey Musgrave, 9:30 Club, Washington
March 26 – Miranda Lambert with Justin Moore, Giant Center, Hershey, Pa.
March 27 – Dailey & Vincent, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
March 27 – The Steel Wheels and Nora Jane Struthers, Weinberg Center for the Arts
March 29 – Kip Moore, Majestic Theater, Gettysburg, Pa.
April 17 – Rosanne Cash, Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda
April 22 – Lee Ann Womack, Barns at Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va.
April 24 – Dwight Yoakam, Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, Baltimore
April 25 – Frank Solivan, The Seldom Scene, Grand Ole Ditch, Bumper Jacksons, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore
April 26 – Carlene Carter, DAR Constitution Hall, Washington
May 2 – Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
May 2 – Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard, Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, Pa.
May 5 – Emily West, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
May 7 – Vince Gill, The Birchmere, Alexandria, Va.
May 9 – Florida Georgia Line, Frankie Ballard and Thomas Rhett, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columiba
May 27 – Kenny Chesney, Chase Rice and Jake Owen, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia
May 30 – Jason Aldean with Tyler Farr, Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, Pa.
June 5 – Merle Haggard, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Charles Town, W.Va.
June 6 – Lady Antebellum with Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt, Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Va.
June 12 – Carlene Carter – Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, Baltimore
June 26 and 27 – Luke Bryan, Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch, Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Va.
July 10 – Dierks Bentley with Maddie and Tae, Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Va.
July 13 and 14 – Taylor Swift, Nationals Park, Washington
July 25 – Florida Georgia Line, Frankie Ballard and Thomas Rhett, TBA, Washington
Aug. 22 – Darius Rucker with Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, A Thousand Horses
Aug. 24 – Loretta Lynn, American Music Theatre, Lancaster, Pa.
Sept. 19 – Alabama, York Fair Grandstand, York, Pa.