Country Music is like a Timex watch – it takes a licking and keeps on ticking! In decades past, the popularity of Country Music would infiltrate the Pop music charts, turning many of the Country artists into ‘crossover’ artists. In the 1970s, Kenny Rogers gained attention on the Country charts and would eventually become a fixture on the Pop charts. In the ‘80s, George Strait and Reba McEntire may not have become bona-fide Pop stars, but they became the faces of the Country movement, appearing on magazine covers and TV shows just as much as – if not more than – their Pop contemporaries. In the 1990s, it was Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, and others. But a funny thing happened when Garth and the gang became international celebrities: Country Music remained popular and didn’t slip back into the shadows for several years like it had done in the past. In fact, Country Music is more popular now than it has ever been.
Like any genre, the Country Music scene is filled with reigning superstars – Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Lady A, etc. – and an equal amount of ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ artists (too numerous to mention). However, Country has also given us artists like Randy Houser: a singer/songwriter who builds his career, one step at a time, and continues to grow his audience with each new release. With an impressive list of hit co-writes in his back pocket – Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” Jessie James’ “My Cowboy,” and Justin Moore’s “Back That Thing Up” – Randy Houser has also scored solo hits including “Anything Goes” (2008), “Boots On” (2009), “How Country Feels” (2012), “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” (2013), “We Went” (2015). Three of his first five albums landed in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart: THEY CALL ME CADILLAC (2010), HOW COUNTRY FEELS (2013), and FIRED UP (2016). And even though Randy Houser is now a seasoned veteran, he continues to approach his music as if he’s just getting started.
2022’s NOTE TO SELF is Randy Houser’s sixth album and his first since 2019’s MAGNOLIA. Raised on Country & Western, Houser keeps his boots on the ground and offers up a collection of songs that stay true to his influences. On NOTE TO SELF, you can hear bit of George Strait, Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and many other classic Country legends, but they don’t overpower the sound of Randy Houser himself. There are even chord changes here that recall the early 1970s Country Rock movement (Eagles, Poco, Stone Canyon Band, etc.) and even some melodic passages that sound rooted in ‘70s AM radio memories. But don’t think that the album is rooted in a retro vibe, because it is as fresh as any album released in 2022. On the other hand, NOTE TO SELF is a timeless album that focuses on melody and honest emotions – it doesn’t need studio trickery to get the job done. Songs like “Workin’ Man,” “Still That Cowboy,” “Take It To The Bank,” and “Note To Self” are instant Randy Houser classics. Heck, they are Country Music classics!
NOTE TO SELF