On the album’s first single, the piano-based ballad “Anything Goes,” Houser sounds like a 1970’s soul man’s Ronnie Dunn while singing about going through a string of women after a break up. On the front porch country-rocker “My Kind of Country,” Houser sings about listening to a “Little bit of Waylon, whole lot of Motown” while a B-3 organ echoes Garth Brooks’ “Rodeo.” It’s this “whole lot of Motown” that proves to contain some of the most interesting points on the album. Houser successfully creates a soulful Motown/Brooks & Dunn cocktail on tracks like “Something Real,” where his voice conveys emotion that is more evident than on the harder rocking songs in the set. This soulful combination is best heard on the standout track “How Many Times” (featuring Vince Gill on backing vocals) as light jazz piano and a slightly distorted lead guitar toe the line between country and jazz. The album’s most noticeable missteps are when it starts stepping a little too close to other artists. The humorous song “Lie” sounds a little too much like Toby Keith, and the country-blues rocker “Paycheck Man” sounds a bit too much like Montgomery Gentry. Yet, even these songs are still fun as Houser delivers a well-balanced group of songs that serves as a solid introduction.
Note: Randy recently performed on CMT’s “Unplugged at Studio 330.” Click here to watch.