Singer-songwriter, Randy Houser visited Webster Hall in New York City Wednesday night wrapping up the fall leg of his Magnolia Tour, promoting his new album of the same name that came out in January. Joining him was special guest, Paul Cauthen.
Cauthen’s music style is a mix between Eric Church and Johnny Cash, dipping heavily into outlaw-country. He and his band all wore cowboy hats and dark shades, not cracking a smile the entire 45-minute set, fitting the outlaw persona. He performed many songs of his newest album 41, which came out in September including “Holy Ghost Fire”, “Prayed for Rain” and “Angel”. After grabbing a Coors Light and polishing it off in three seconds, the Texas-native covered Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”, riling up the already boisterous crowd. The ceiling disco ball lit up the venue for his final song of the night, “Cocaine Country Dancing” which got everyone swaying along.
Not many artists open with ballads but Houser is unique and began his 90-minute set with the lead single off the new album, “What Whiskey Does”. Here, he displayed his powerful vocals, hitting every high and extended note. He quickly changed the mood of the show, covering Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman” and his country music hero, Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”. Houser told the audience later in the show that Nelson had just recorded one of his songs and decided that he would name his upcoming album after it. He said he wanted Webster Hall to turn into a Nashville honky-tonk for the night. He kept the energy going with his original songs “Boots On” and “My Kinda Country”.
Houser included a lot of songs from Magnolia into the setlist Wednesday night, which is a testament to his confidence in his new music. Most established artists stick to the hits because they know those are the songs that will receive the most positive reactions and keep the fans engaged. The audience showed their fandom as everyone in the crowd sang along to two deep cuts off the new album, “High Time” and his most vulnerable track to date, “No Good Place to Cry”
“I wrote this one a while ago, but I didn’t put it on any albums until this one because I wasn’t ready to sing it just yet. But after I turned 40 I didn’t give a s**t anymore,” the Mississippi-native explained, making light of the gloomy song. “But this was written at a terrible time in my life and I feel comfortable sharing it now.”
The New York City fans were in for a surprise with the next one as Grammy-winning, singer-songwriter, Miranda Lambert came out to sing Loretta Lynn’s part in Conway Twitty’s “After the Fire is Gone”. Lambert married NYC police officer, Brendan McLoughlin last year and since then the two split their residency between Nashville and The Big Apple.
The next two songs any country fan would recognize; two of Houser’s biggest hits “We Went” and “How Country Feels”. New York Country 94.7 radio host, Jesse Addy told the crowd before the show that “How Country Feels” was the first song they played when the station dedicated itself to country music. Both songs went number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
After some pleading, Houser got Lambert to come back on stage to sing background on another new song “No Stone Unturned”, which he admitted was one of his favorite songs off Magnolia. Cauthen came out on stage as well to sing with Houser.
“I wrote this song about self-discovery…The biggest thing I learned about learning anything about yourself is that you don’t know s**t about yourself and you don’t learn anything about yourself if you’re looking.”
After performing “Mama Don’t Know” from the new album, Houser dedicated his ballad “Like a Cowboy” to the military and first responders, as it is a song about perseverance and trying to hold on to loved ones. “Nobody knows more about trying to hang on to a relationship when somebody is gone all the time. In that situation, you don’t know if they’re gonna come back and they don’t know either.” After this performance, it became clear that Houser has one of the best, most beautiful traditional country voices in the business.
For the encore, Houser and his band performed an extended jam-band version of the honky-tonk track “Whole Lotta Quit” off Magnolia. He ended the night with another number one song in “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight”.
Houser will go into 2020 performing multiple shows in Colorado, California and more! Head to his website for tickets.
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