First Listen: Randy Houser, 'Magnolia'

Randy Houser imagines and inhabits a blue-collar, tortured soul character with some of the most expressive performances of his career.
Randy Houser's Magnolia comes out Jan. 11. Source: Sean O'Halloran

Fair or not, the generalized complaint about country music's men has long boiled down to the perception that they're lightweights — unimpressive singers who make music with low emotional stakes but get by on their good-timing approachability. Randy Houser has always been among the notable exceptions, a performer in the tradition of 's, Hank Williams Jr.'s, Travis Tritt's and Brooks & Dunn's merging of roadhouse blues muscle and swing and honky-tonk grit. Houser introduced himself as a recording artist in 2008 (before that, that showcased the supple robustness of his voice.

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