Randy Houser just released his latest Magnolia record, braving new territory for his fifth studio album. The 12-track project became a labor of love for Houser, who was unsure if it would ever even see the light of day.
“I started sort of paying for the album out of my own pocket because I honestly thought that once [my record label] heard what I wanted to do that they would drop me,” Houser recalled to Billboard.
Fortunately, his label, Stoney Creek Records, had the exact opposite reaction when they heard the direction Houser wanted to take.
“Whenever they saw that passion, they said, ‘Here's what we're going to do. We're going to open up a little budget and see what you come up with,'" added the singer. "I played it for them and they said, ‘Let's go finish making the record.' They were really on board from day one. Stoney Creek has always been a solid place for me to be as an artist.”
As Houser prepares to play Magnolia for his fans on the road, he made a surprising and bold move: letting go of most of his band and crew so he can have a more acoustic feel on stage.
“I feel that my live show was sort of getting out from under me, just in the fact that there was so much going on stage. It started to feel like that it wasn't about music as much anymore as it was just entertainment,” Houser said. “That’s not who I am. I was getting caught up in making a show bigger and bigger because that's what's expected on those huge tours that I was doing. I got rid of a lot of tricks, tracks, lights and stuff and just wanted to come back to the music. Let's start it from there again and see where it goes."
Houser's current single, "What Whiskey Does," is a duet with songwriter Hillary Lindsey, who along with Keith Gattis, co-wrote the tune with Houser. But the song that Houser says most illustrates where he is in life right now is "No Stone Unturned," which became the cornerstone for Magnolia.
“I think that is the song that's probably the most closely related to my life right now," Houser explained. "It's about self-discovery and just the life of a traveling man and I've always been, sort of a seeker in my lifetime. I never have really known how to sit still very long. I wrote it with my brother-in-law, Dallas Davidson, who's a lot like me. It sets the tone for the album because it's a look inward. That song covers both that and my need to geographically go check stuff out, look around. That's just about living life and being on the go and that being just who you are.”
Although Houser's previous records had plenty of hits on them, with his 2016 Fired Up album including the No. 1 single, "We Went," the 43-year-old felt the need to go back to the beginning with Magnolia.
“It was a total reset,” Houser said. “And then as I started writing, I knew there wasn’t going to be any of that big production stuff. My next project had to lean on songs and melodies, not a bunch of tricks and loops. And that was the catalyst for the new album.”0comments
Purchase Magnolia at RandyHouser.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Mat Hayward