Randy Houser may want to spend more time perfecting his faux hawk instead of speaking his mind after he put his foot in his mouth in a recent interview with radio.com (see below). The co-writer of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and the close friend of Bro-Country Godfather Dallas Davidson decided to go on the offensive against Bro-Country haters and ended up allowing his alligator mouth to overload his hummingbird ass.
“When you think about Willie [Nelson] and Waylon [Jennings] and Johnny Cash and those guys, who are my heroes. They’re also Luke [Bryan’s] heroes. What Luke’s doing is almost what they’ve done,” Randy Houser says in the interview. “It doesn’t sound like what they did, but what they did musically was take everything they heard growing up and put it into this one thing and it became what they do.”
Wrong, Randy Houser. Wrong, wrong, wrong. First of all, the main difference between Luke Bryan, and Willie Waylon, and Cash is those country legends wrote a lot of their own damn songs and called the shots on how their albums would be produced. Luke Bryan’s songs are written by a committee, many of which Luke Bryan isn’t even involved in, and the songs are programmed by producers working off of demographics data and focus groups.
The idea that Luke Bryan is taking inspiration from this amalgam of influences and referring to them with his own sound is laughable. Willie, Waylon, and Cash walked into a studio and did whatever their heart’s desired. That’s why they were termed “Outlaws” and “Highwaymen,” because they played by their own rules.
Randy Houser goes on to say in the interview, “People actually do ride around a Sonic, and we go park our trucks, and we drink a beer, and we sit on a tailgate. Everybody can say what they want. There’s a reason that stuff is so popular. Because that’s what happens!”
Well then why don’t you also sing songs about taking a dump, doing the laundry, and taking the trash out? Those are things people actually do as well. The reason is because it’s inane drivel about everyday events that offers absolutely no inspiration or insight into the human condition. And sure it’s “popular,” just like McDonald’s is popular and has been served to billions. That doesn’t make it good.
And guess what, Chris Stapleton is also popular now. In fact he’s the most popular country music artist in the last 18 months; even more popular than Luke Bryan when looking at album sales. And this has caused everyday country listeners to wake up to the fact that they have an alternative to the Ronald McDonald of country music, and boring songs about trucks and tailgates.
Randy Houser says later in the interview, “I think sometimes we can get to a place where music gets so serious that it becomes unreal too. And it seems like the more people can stick a knife in your gut and make you feel this thing that hurts so bad, is almost as unrealistic as (stutter) anything I’ve heard.”
See, now Randy Houser is talking in circles. So wait, I thought that Bro-Country is completely realistic? So how are we making comparisons to how songs of depth are “unreal too.” He’s pretty much admitting that Bro-Country is over the top. Sure, music doesn’t have to be super serious all of the time. But it also doesn’t have to be about riding in circles around the local Sonic with a beer and the tailgate down over and over again.
Randy Houser is so completely behind the curve here by even attempting to defend Bro-Country, which as been deprecated to a sliver of the mainstream country market as opposed to the dominant force it was years ago. Just like Saving Country Music said it its review of Randy’s recently-released new album Fired Up:
Many 3rd tier mainstream major label country stars are nothing more than musical dumping grounds for all the excess songwriting material left over at the tail end of a dying trend. That’s about the only explanation for the relentless onslaught of outdated and terrible material you’re exposed to on Randy Houser’s new album ‘Fired Up.’
The rest of Music Row has moved on to emulating Bruno Mars and chasing the Sam Hunt craze, or they’ve put their nose to the grindstone looking for the next Chris Stapleton. That has left folks like Dallas Davidson and Randy Houser sitting at home and waiting for the phone to ring…
Randy Houser does make one semi-valid point in the interview.
“I think there’s a lot of criticism out there that’s over-the-top,” he says. “Just lighten up a little bit. It’s music. With the technology we have today, you can find what music you’re looking for. Quit shitting on the people that make their own kind.”
Yes, listeners now have a ton of more options (thank God), and some of the criticism does get too out of hand (though some of it is just in good fun, so lighten up Houser!). But when you compare Luke Bryan to being (almost) like the legends of country music, then you’re shitting on other people’s music yourself. Criticizing the music of Luke Bryan and Randy Houser is not just about being spiteful. It’s about not wanting to be recognized with bad music just because you want to identify yourself as a country music fan. Some of the music is so bad, you’re forced to criticize it to draw distinctions.
Randy Houser, Dallas Davidson, and folks like them know their days are numbered. And instead of listening to people’s concerns and contemporizing their thinking, they’re digging in and damning others as being the problem. But the truth is they’ve already been left behind. They just don’t know it yet.