Randy Houser on Making New Album ‘Magnolia’: ‘I Was Lost There for a Little Bit’

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When Randy Houser determined to return to fundamentals for his fifth studio album, Magnolia, out Friday, he wasn’t positive how his label, Stoney Creek, would really feel concerning the change.

“I began type of paying for the album out of my very own pocket as a result of I actually thought that when they heard what I wished to try this they might drop me,” he says. Thankfully, that was not the case. In truth, the label’s response was fairly the alternative.

“Whenever they noticed that keenness, they stated, ‘Here's what we're going to do. We're going to open up somewhat price range and see what you give you.’ I performed it for them they usually stated, ‘Let's go end making the report.' They have been actually onboard from day one. Stoney Creek has at all times been a strong place for me to be as an artist.” Houser has recorded for the label since his third studio album, 2013’s How Country Feels.

Houser, who produced the album with Keith Gattis and co-wrote each monitor, strived to straddle the road between being radio-friendly and sustaining his personal musical integrity.

“It's a tricky to attempt to be every thing to everyone,” Houser tells Billboard. “I feel that it needed to fall again all the way down to me making music for me and for followers -- not essentially what everyone expects.”

Houser compares his feelings going into the recording of the album as matching these of Dusty Chandler, George Strait’s character in 1992’s Pure Country. It was time for him to decelerate issues a bit -- and deal with what introduced him to the eye of the followers of nation music within the first place -- these blues-laden vocals that made such early hits as “Anything Goes” and “Boots On” so memorable.

“I really feel that my stay present was type of getting out from beneath me, simply in the truth that there was a lot occurring stage. It began to really feel like that it wasn't about music as a lot anymore because it was simply leisure,” he says. “That’s not who I'm. I used to be getting caught up in making a present larger and larger as a result of that's what's anticipated on these enormous excursions that I used to be doing. I removed loads of methods, tracks, lights and stuff and simply wished to come back again to the music. Let's begin it from there once more and see the place it goes, you realize?”

The venture heralds a return to Houser’s conventional nation and blues fashion and is a nod to his Mississippi roots, all the way down to the album title. 

“I used to be most likely six years previous when my grandmother died, and she or he was buried down in Jackson beneath a tree. I remembered trying up at that tree and the way lovely it was with all of these massive shiny inexperienced leaves. I simply thought it was odd,” Houser says. “I keep in mind asking my dad what sort of tree it was. He advised me a magnolia tree. That was the primary type of tree that I ever knew what sort of tree it was. There’s not a track on there known as that, however the album title resonates as a type of return residence. It's not only a Mississippi report, it's type of signifies a return to myself.”

First single,  “What Whiskey Does,” that includes Hillary Lindsey, peaked at No. 36 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in December.  Magnolia is chock stuffed with equally emotional moments for the singer, together with “No Stone Unturned,” which he'll carry out on Good Morning America on launch date. 

“I feel that's the track that's most likely probably the most carefully associated to my life proper now. You know, it's about self-discovery and simply the lifetime of a touring man and I've at all times been, type of a seeker in my lifetime. I by no means have actually recognized tips on how to sit nonetheless very lengthy.  I wrote it with my brother-in-law, Dallas Davidson, who's quite a bit like me. It units the tone for the album as a result of it's a glance inward. That track covers each that and my have to geographically go test stuff out, go searching. That's nearly dwelling life and being on the go and that being simply who you might be.”

Magnolia closes with the romantic “Evangeline,” written with James Otto. “I used to be reminiscing about all of the issues we did in junior school. We would take off from class at Central Community College the place I went to highschool for a pair years. We would simply take off after class and drive all the way down to New Orleans and spend all evening, hang around, then drive proper again within the early morning and be again for sophistication. Those recollections stick with you. I do know they've with me.”

In addition to the album, Houser can even launch a documentary on the making of Magnolia, that features stay performances and a story. He feels that it’s a narrative that deserves to be heard. “I used to be type of misplaced there for somewhat bit. I didn't know precisely what it was that I wished to do,” he says. “I simply knew that what was the established order on the market, what was type of the favored [thing], there's simply an excessive amount of of it. I didn't wish to be in a scenario the place I used to be making one other one of many similar albums that everyone makes to allow them to simply keep within the cool children’ nook. I needed to go off and make an album that felt like me. Then, I may actually come again and maintain my head up and be pleased with what I'm doing. This is what I'm going to proceed to do.”