Women in Music 2016

Country Singer Randy Houser Stages High-Speed Police Chase to Raise Awareness For Nashville Food Bank

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Randy Houser

Spectators in Music City might have thought they were being transported back in time to 1977 on Thursday afternoon. There was a police chase in town centering around a black 1977 Pontiac Trans Am -- similar to the one that was driven by Burt Reynolds in the classic film Smokey and the Bandit. Alas, no crime was being committed…..it was just Randy Houser.

The Stoney Creek recording artist was leading the police on a controlled chase around the Row to raise awareness of the local Second Harvest Food Bank. Eckrich meat brand donated 10,000 protein packages to the organization, and Houser got to play the “Good Deed Bandit” for an even better cause.

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"I’ve lived in Nashville for nearly 15 years and really feel like I’m a part of the community here,” Houser said. “Nashville is such a supportive community and has certainly supported my career, so I feel that I have a responsibility to give back whenever I can, and for us to do what we can to help our neighbors who might be in need. That’s what today was about -- and we had a really fun time with it, too."

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On Friday, the singer released his fourth album, Fired Up. The project has already been a successful one, with the lead single “We Went” becoming his third single to top the Country Airplay chart. Having released his first album eight years ago, the Houser says still being in the game offers him a sense of accomplishment.

“Just to be able to start making records at this level, that’s an amazing thing. Regardless of whether success ever came or not, I would have made records at whatever level I was going to be at. But, to be four albums in is a cool feeling," explains Houser. "Now, at the same time, we’re four albums in during a long period of time. It’s been three years since the last album came out, so we waited a while for this one. We did have a lot of success at radio, and a lot of great things happened with it.”

One difference between Fired Up and his previous works was that he wasn’t trying to make any deep statements, preferring to let the music speak for itself. “I didn’t want to limit myself on this one,” he admits. I didn’t want to be stuck in a particular place. I didn’t want to worry about being so traditional. That hadn’t been very productive for me. I went there in my mind for a little while, trying to draw the line and say ‘Damn it. This is not country music.’ I had gone there in my mind before, but I finally realized that country music is country music because the people making the music are country. When you hear me, it can’t help but be country. That’s just the way it is. I sing like I talk, and I don’t care what you happen to put around that production-wise, it’s coming out country. I just want to cut songs that I believe in lyrically, and I think that with me being 40 years old, I’ve seen every emotion you can imagine.”

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Many of those emotions have come to the forefront since the release of his last album, 2013’s How Country Feels. At the time of the release of the disc, Houser had just become a father to son West. However, his marriage to Jessa Lee Yantz ended in divorce not too soon after. He has since found love again, becoming engaged to girlfriend Tatiana Starzynski last year. He credits her for settling him down after a very turbulent period in his life.

“I have definitely gone through my share. That’s a fact. I don’t get to share that much. I’ve had to forgive myself for things I’ve done, and know that I’ve been forgiven by the only one who counts -- God," he says. "There’s times in my life that I have to start questioning myself and keep myself in check just because that’s the way I am. When I met Tatiana and fell in love, I had to remember that I could be loved, if that makes sense. She‘s my best friend, and she knocked down those walls for me, and made me realize that I’m worth loving -- and she was the one that could do it.”

Houser co-wrote “True” in honor of his fiancĂ©e, and went back in time for the nostalgic “Senior Year.” So, what does he remember the most about his last year of high school? “I think my favorite memories would be the times we spent riding in Vince Parker’s Firebird to the river, and just hanging out and chilling. Then, there’s hanging out with my buddies at the field house at Lake High School after football practice. And, of course, the girls,” he says with a grin. “There are so many great memories from that time.”

Looking back on his childhood, as well as his adulthood, the singer stresses that learning from the rough patches is key to survival. “The trick is that I haven’t just gotten a little bit older, but a little bit over," he says. "I think that one of the best things is being able to look back on a rough spot in your life, and think ‘Man, I made it through that,’ and realize that you’ve forgiven yourself for it, and you can start having fun again.”

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And Houser has the most fun on stage. He’ll be touring with Dierks Bentley and Cam this summer, and he definitely plans on rising to the occasion. “I want to get better and more relaxed. Playing live is my favorite thing to do with my clothes on. Making an album is one thing -- I’m in less control of making records than I am what happens live," says Houser. "In concert, I can control it minute by minute. I can get out there, and whatever happens, happens. You just adapt to it. It’s very fun and exciting. It’s different every night, and is so emotionally driven. I just want to make the show more exciting and unpredictable. That’s my big goal at this point in my career.”