Randy Houser Celebrates “Goodnight Kiss” With Co-Writers Jason Sellers, Rob Hatch

Latest Hit Continues String of Success for Singer-Songwriter

“A lot of people complain about the sameness of sound on country radio,” publisher Troy Tomlinson told a Nashville crowd Monday (June 2). “But when you hear Randy Houser’s voice coming out of the speakers, the last word you think of is ’sameness.'”

Tomlinson made his remarks at a late afternoon party convened at Broken Bow Records’ Nashville headquarters to celebrate the chart success of Houser’s latest single, “Goodnight Kiss.”

Celebrating with Houser were his two “Goodnight Kiss” co-writers, Jason Sellers and Rob Hatch.

The song hit No. 1 on the Mediabase country singles chart and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s country airplay chart.

While waiting for the party to begin, guests circulated from the full bar to the buffet table before settling in at the tall tables, each of which was generously supplied with chocolate kisses.

Some celebrants availed themselves of the free foam beer-can holders stacked on the bar that memorialized the song and songwriters being honored.

Sponsoring the party were the three performance rights organizations — ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

Houser is a BMI member. Sellers and Hatch belong to ASCAP and SESAC, respectively.

BMI’s Bradley Collins praised Houser’s “powerful voice” and his ability to write “great songs.”

“I remember hearing his first demos,” Collins added, “[and how] they stood out to me.” He presented Houser a guitar in honor of his songwriting breakthrough.

Longtime SESAC representative Shannan Hatch took the stage to laud Rob Hatch, “my best friend, my husband and a fabulous father to [our son] Henry, who’s running around here.”

As if to underline his presence, Henry hopped onto the stage and into his dad’s arms as his mom completed her remarks.

Mike Sistad of ASCAP spoke on Sellers’ behalf, noting he has scored No. 1’s as a songwriter for Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, Thompson Square and Joe Nichols.

Sistad also pointed out that Sellers is a top-flight musician, having toured in Vince Gill’s and Ricky Skaggs’ bands.

Jon Loba, Broken Bow’s vice president, recalled how impressively Houser had performed with just his guitar when he auditioned for the label in his manager’s office two years ago.

Houser records for BBR’s allied label, Stoney Creek Records. He was earlier signed to Universal South Records, where his biggest hit was the 2009 single, “Boots On.”

“Randy’s been such a pleasure since day one,” said Broken Bow owner Benny Brown. He said his immediate thoughts upon hearing Houser perform were, “Why didn’t this man with such a great voice sell more records and have more success.”

Brown said he was pleased to discover Houser and his whole team were firm in their determination to record the best songs they could find, no matter who wrote them.

Calling Houser “one of the greatest male vocalists in Nashville,” Brown concluded, “All you have to do is get him the right song, and he’ll give you a No. 1.”

Hatch could contain neither his whimsy nor his delight when it came his turn to speak. He dubbed his co-writers “two of the most talented people on earth — and I’m sure they feel the same about me.”

He admitted that in the headiness of the moment he was surprised to recall that he actually had co-writers on the song. Hatch had so many people to thank that he read their names from his cell phone.

Sellers was in an equally good mood. Looking at one of the plaques he’d just been given, he quipped, “This massive picture of Randy is not going on my wall.”

He said he was keeping his remarks brief, explaining, “Rob thanked everybody in show business.”

“This is the first time I’ve got to have one of these (parties) as a writer,” Houser said. “I’m greatly honored and very excited to be here again.”

His two previous singles, “How Country Feels” and “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” both went No. 1.

Directing his remarks to Brown and Loba, Houser added, “Every day I look at myself and say, ’Hell, it was over.’ … You gave me a career.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.