By Meghan D. Shapiro
The first time I heard “Anything Goes,” Randy Houser’s title track from his debut album, I swore it was another Books & Dunn song I just hadn’t heard before. I didn’t even double-check to see if I was right; it’s taken me months to finally figure it out. Houser doesn’t have a household name yet, but for his first album, it’s not a bad start to be compared to the former entertainers of the year; it’s almost uncanny how similar the vocals are.
Don’t get me wrong — he certainly does have a unique sound with passionate lyrics to boot. Houser is a seasoned writer who has penned songs for artists like John Michael Montgomery, Trace Adkins, Justin Moore and George Canyon. And now, on his own, Houser looks to do it all himself with Anything Goes. It’s his mix of honesty and humor that makes this selection so great. After listening, you’ll feel like Houser is a down-to-earth man, not afraid to love, lose or take risks.
He’ll keep you still when you listen to “Back to God,” a song about asking for forgiveness. And he’ll win your heart once you hear his song “I’ll Sleep,” which is a tearjerker about the relationship he had with his father before he died. “Oh daddy tried, but I’d barely even say goodnight. I’m sure he thought my mind was on girls and school, and I was just way too cool to say ‘I love you.'”
He lost me slightly when I truly listened to “Lie,” which is about a man learning how to lie to women in bars — a fun song, even though part of it makes me want to punch him, for woman’s sake (just kidding).
What really gets me in this album are his songs “Wild Wild West,” “Boots On,” “Strange” and “My Kinda Country.” They’re up beat, quirky and just make you want to tap your foot. It’s the relatable songs about working hard, being your own person, getting up early and having fun — that’s really my kind of country.