By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Besides liking Lady Gaga, I have another secret shame that most metalheads do not know about: I am a bit of a country fan. The kind of country music I enjoy listening to is outlaw country. Those are artists who are not part of the norm of what a country superstar is; they do things their own way with a rocker attitude. On October 13th, I was invited to House of Blues in Anaheim to check out an artist who, in my eyes, sort of fits that mold, Randy Houser. A Mississippian star with a slew of #1 hits and a member of Big & Rich’s Muzikmafia, I was intrigued to see him perform. Plus, it has been a while since I have been to a country concert. So, for the night, I set aside my heavy metal gear, put on a blue flannel shirt, and endured my ears to something new. When I arrived, there were fans dressed in 10 gallon hats, Daisy Duke shorts, crop tops, and cowboy boots. Thank God I dressed for the occasion. Otherwise, I would stuck out like a sore thumb. Opening up for Houser was Eli V, who I did not get to see.
When Randy Houser went into the opening number “We Went,” I really dug Houser’s soulful, twangy voice right away. It is definitely a country singer’s voice, but it felt organic and powerful. He knew how to sway the crowd with his genuine sweet tunes. Not only can Houser sing very well, but he is a mean-ass guitar player. Whether it is on his acoustic or his assortment of electric guitars, he performs some awesome country rock riffs that have a lot of attitude and swagger. His backing band is amazing with their simple, yet holistic melodies and harmonious licks. His other guitar player, whose name I unfortunately did not get, was firing smoking hot solos that sound like they came from Duane Allman.
Houser and his band were rocking out with the country fans of Anaheim with songs about drinking beer to being a cowboy, enjoying the weekend, and falling in love. Some his hit songs include “How Country Feels,” “Boots On,” “Goodnight Kiss,” and “My Kind of Country.” He is getting ready to put out his latest LP, Magnolia, in January, and he wanted to treat the fans with a bunch of songs that will be featured on the record. From “High Time” to “New Buzz,” “What Your Mama Don’t Know,” “What Whiskey Does,” and “Goodnight Kiss,” the crowd was digging his new stuff. He calls his new album a “total reset” for his career. While I did not hear any of his previous songs before that night, I was enjoying what I was hearing. After serenading the fans with the heartbreaker “Like a Cowboy,” Houser and his merry men took a quick breather before coming back out for a 2 song encore, which included the new song “Whole Lotta Quit” and the rowdy country favorite “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight.”
Full Randy Houser slide show below:
I had some of the best seats in the house on top of the balcony, where I watched a country star bring his Mississippi flavor to SoCal. Being the only photographer of the night, I am actually glad I made the trip to the House of Blues and inject some country music into my soul. Not only was I blown away by his classics, but I was also dazzled by his new stuff that I am sure country fans will love to hear. I will definitely be checking out his new album, Magnolia, when hits the shelves on January 11th, 2019. To Randy Houser, I salute you. Horns up!!! And yehaw!!!