Randy Houser- Magnolia Review

Here it is, another genre I don’t listen to. Although I grew up with country music, when I started developing my own musical taste, I left country behind. It isn’t a complete shock that I haven’t heard of this guy, but maybe he will make me miss country, who knows.

  1. No Stone Unturned-First thing I noticed is that he has a cool voice. For me, I always think male country singers sound the same, but he has a different voice. The groove is nice, basic, but nice. I expected more from the chorus but it isn’t anything memorable. The last line in the chorus “No stone unturned, no turn unstoned” seems to be pretending to be deep. It sounds meaningful, but it has nothing mind-blowing about it. This being the single from this album, I was hoping for more.
  2. Our Hearts- The pacing of this song is confusing, while the music is about mid-tempo, Randy slows down his words in a way that doesn’t make too much sense. Lucie Silva sounds lovely, but she isn’t showcased at all. This is a cute love song, but she seems like a second thought. This song isn’t amazing, but it is competent.
  3. What Whiskey Does- First thoughts: Toby Keith vibe. This song is about an alcoholic thinking of reasons to drink more. The rhythm is slow and relaxed, which lets Randy show off his voice. Once again, he brought in a female singer, Hillary Lindsey, who sounds nice, but is only an echo to Randy. The chorus is nice, easy to sing along to, but it’s the bridge that brings the song together, it is reflective and punchy. This man coming to the realization that his actions will have consequences. At the end though, he seems not to care, which isn’t how I would have ended it, but it works.
  4. Whole Lotta Quit- The harmonica in the beginning sets the tone entirely. In this song, Randy has a bit of a country Elvis in his voice that I hadn’t heard before which is possibly due to the faster pace of the song. He sounds really nice here. There’s a lot of marijuana references, which is not something that I remember being in country music at all. I don’t mind it because I don’t think the substance is an issue, but I thought that was taboo in the country scene. It’s about his experience wanting to smoke all day and the repercussions of doing so, but not caring which is a theme I’ve noticed. The final chorus, he puts his all into his vocals and it shows
  5. No Good Place To Cry- This is really toned down, a subtle guitar with an R&B vibe to it. The focus is on his voice which is a good thing since his is good. Although it is slow, which is not something I normally like, the content is great. The lyrics are important because it shows that men showing emotions is normal and fine, even if society hasn’t adapted to that truth yet.
  6. New Buzz- Another song about getting high, at least this time he sounds the part. His voice is monotone, for the first verse, but it picks up as the song goes on. It is about his new drug being this girl, which is where his voice picks up. I found that to be interesting because it shows that he thought carefully about his storytelling.
  7. Nothin On You- This song sounds like every country stereotype put into one song, which I hope is on purpose. Randy just listing off typical country tropes sounds self-aware but who knows. There isn’t much to say about this song because it is like so many songs that I have heard before.
  8. What Leaving Looks Like- This song is about this guy’s girl cheating on him. This could have been an average cheating song but there are clues that he has cheated in past relationships as well which makes this more interesting. He puts all the blame on the girl even though he has done the same this which is weird. This song is partially self-aware. There could have been more done with the idea that he is a s guilty as here but it isn’t explored much at all.
  9. High Time- The guitar with the tambourine and harmonica sound awesome at the beginning. Something I admire is how obvious he is about his love for a good joint. I respect it. The groove is nice, what makes this good is the use of the tambourine, it adds a bit of personality to the song. When Randy goes for those long notes with his growl coming through it shows that he is a talented singer. Most country guys stick to their low sound because it works, but he isn’t afraid to go for it, which I appreciate.
  10. Mamma Don’t Know- The beginning reminds me of Gary Clark Jr. it is very much his vibe. Houser either has a lot of great influences or I know to much music and constantly have to connect them. This song is about the things that a mom thinks about her daughter that are actually wrong. She has a rebellious child who is wilder than she thought. The instrumentals are very rock and roll but Houser’s voice turns it into a great southern rock song.
  11. Running Man- Immediately, through the instrumentals,  I’m getting church. I’m not sure what this song is about, he keeps referencing a running man which makes me think he is possibly a traveler who doesn’t have a place. But his referencing a van made me think of a kidnapping, which more than likely isn’t what was intending but I have a strange mind. It is a nice song, but I wish I knew what it was about.
  12. Evangeline- This is the last song on the album so I’m hoping it is worthy of ending it. I think with last songs on albums they either need to be really emotional or vocally impactful. This song is about wanting to leave with a girl, but it feels kind of stale. The vocals are basic, he isn’t doing anything special or that I particularly enjoyed in other songs on this album. The instrumentals also isn’t anything new. They feel like an afterthought.

Overall, I thought this album, being a genre I don’t like, was okay. There were some songs that showed a side to country that I hadn’t heard before, but he kept reverting to habits that I don’t like in the genre. He has a good voice I just wish he had showcased different aspects to it more. I give this album a  

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