Randy Houser

They Call Me Cadillac

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If Randy Houser’s 2008 debut, Anything Goes, bore all the hallmarks of a pro songwriter turned performer, appealing to every audience without quite offering a distinct personality, he makes amends with his 2010 sophomore set, They Call Me Cadillac. He strips away many of his lingering commercial affectations -- i.e., there are no attempts to write like Big & Rich here, although the second-generation Hank Jr. stomp of “Whistlin’ Dixie” comes close -- and focuses on one sound, a lean sinewy hard country part way between an outlaw growl and roadhouse ramble. Houser’s slight vocal resemblance to John Anderson serves him well, giving him an air of familiarity that enhances the authenticity of his throwbacks, but Houser doesn’t quite sound like he’s attempting to style himself after any particular songwriter so much as consciously placing himself within the tradition. His lean, economical songs on They Call Me Cadillac fit within that tradition, and if they’re not flashy enough to expand it, they’re sturdy straight-ahead tunes that trump Anything Goes not only in their consistency but how they give Houser an appealing workingman’s personality.

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