Randy Houser may have the best set of pipes in mainstream country today. There, I said it. He has that instantly recognizable ability that many strive for. He may not quite be a George Jones or Ronnie Dunn, but he is in the conversation. The problem has always been the song choice. "Anything Goes" is a modern-era gem, one of the most overlooked country songs of the past decade. Apart from that, while never massively offending, he hasn't massively impressed either. His newest single "Like A Cowboy" isn't quite another "Anything Goes", but it is certainly a huge step in the right direction.
"Like A Cowboy" is a breath of fresh air on the radio. No trucks, tailgates, or beer to be seen for miles. It is a good ol' fashioned love song with an aura of regret and despair mixed in. Randy uses a lot of cowboy imagery to depict the life of a man who won't be settling down anytime soon, but still longs to be with his love. If I had to compare it to anyone, it sounds like a Garth Brooks cut through and through. Oh man, cowboys, sadness, love and regret... Its a telling sign of the times when we are shocked to hear the very essence of what country is built upon actually used in a song.
Randy Houser uses that magnificent voice to belt out one of his best performances to date. It is chill-inducing at times. He has a bellowing voice and effortless inflection that really makes him pop out among the same old same old on the radio. The melody of this song is catchy and Randy carries it to new heights that a lesser singer could never tackle. It is a very polished and modern pop-country song, don't get me wrong, but it has some steel guitar and quieter moments to keep it grounded in the genre. I would say that the loudness of the accompaniment is the only thing keeping this from being an even better song. I'm not saying its a major problem, but if I was the producer I would have let Randy's voice shine through the arrangement even more than it does already.
"Like A Cowboy" is not "Anything Goes", but that is not a knock on "Like A Cowboy", as much as it is praise for "Anything Goes". That song was a classic. If you're still looking for an equivalent song to that masterpiece, you''ll continue to be disappointed. If you simply want a great sounding mainstream single with emotion and some of the best singing Nashville can offer, "Like A Cowboy" is a jackpot. Good job Randy, keep building on this and use that golden voice of yours!!!