Randy Houser’s Skills Exceed His Own Expectations

"All I Ever Wanted to Be Was a Half-Ass Songwriter”

There’s something about hearing a No. 1 song from just a man and his guitar.

Something so, so special. And I had that chance on Thursday night (Jan. 28) on a farm outside of Chicago with Randy Houser and a handful of guests.

Man, can Houser sing. That alone made his “Like a Cowboy” song give everyone in the room goosebumps. But the story he told leading up to it was pretty telling, too.

He talked about how he grew up doing two things: rodeoing and singing.

“I grew up through high school roping calves and team roping and steer wrestling, so that’s probably why you hear a lot of cowboy songs coming out of me.,” Houser told us. “I still draw a lot of inspiration from that.”

His other passion — music — started even earlier than that.

“I grew up playing music since I was a little boy. I didn’t get into this in high school to pick up chicks. I just didn’t know how to do anything else.

“Still don’t,” he laughed. “I didn’t know where it would take me, but every door that would open, I’d take my guitar through it.”

Right before he started singing the 2015 CMA-nominated song of the year he co-wrote with Brice Long, he admitted how much that one tune had exceeded his expectations.

“Hell, all I ever wanted to be was a half-ass songwriter,” he said.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.