Mississippi native Randy Houser teams with pal Jamey Johnson for tour

TUPELO – It’s been a wild ride from a small hometown to the red carpet of the Country Music Association Awards, and it’s one Randy Houser didn’t make alone.
About the same time Houser moved from Lake, Miss., to Nashville, Jamey Johnson was making the same move from his home in Alabama. When the two met in Nashville, a fast friendship formed.
“It’s kind of like, like minds tend to meet. He’s an Alabama boy and I’m a Mississippi boy, and we just kinda spoke the same language,” Houser said.
Houser and Johnson played the same clubs in the Nashville area and later formed a songwriting team. Their work paid off, with each scoring a record deal. Both men saw success this past year, Johnson with his album “That Lonesome Song” and hit single “In Color,” and Houser with his hit single “Boots On” from his CD “Anything Goes.”

Two on a stage
The guys decided to tour together this year with the hopes of bringing back the days when they played Nashville bars – but this time, they’d perform in front of much larger audiences.
“I used to say I was real laid-back (on stage), till I saw Jamey,” Houser laughed. “We’re not the kind of people who run across the stage and we don’t have anything choreographed. We’re songwriters, and we’re singers.”

‘Same old dude’
That fact hasn’t gone unnoticed. Both Houser and Johnson were nominated for CMA Awards, which took place last week.
It’s all a little overwhelming for Houser, but he still feels the same.
“Moments like the CMA Awards are the ‘I can’t believe I’m here’ moments. You think about watching those awards all those years. But you know, the weirdest part is, I’m so busy, I don’t realize people even know who I am,” he said. “It’s weird that people treat me different, because I feel like the same old dude.”

CMT Tour
Who: Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 27
Where: BancorpSouth Arena
Cost: $27.50 plus service charge
Info: bcsarena.com or 662-841-6528

• Hey, Randy Houser, what’s on your iPod?
“My iPod’s full of random stuff, mostly old music: old country, old soul, old rock ‘n’ roll. The latest thing I’ve downloaded was a Kings of Leon record. I like a little bit of everything. It’s important to me to listen to a little bit of everything.”

• Mississippi man
Randy Houser, a native of Lake, near Jackson, said he tries to make it back to his hometown often.
“I go see some of my folks at least a few times a year, but it’s hard. I really don’t even see my house in Nashville much – I mostly live on a bus,” he said. “But it’s gonna be nice to be in Tupelo.”

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal