Country music star Randy Houser isn’t adverse to dabbling in acting. He offers one disclaimer, however.
“I can’t go play Hamlet,” he said in a recent phone interview.
His dream role? A Western, or something like the outlaw motorcycle series “Sons of Anarchy.”
The news is somewhat refreshing: a country singer who wants to be nothing more than, well, what you’d expect from a country singer.
That’s part of what’s helped Houser, who opens for Gary Allan at the Columbus Civic Center Friday, build a following.
He’s an outsider who isn’t entirely an outsider.
After all, in addition to standing in the spotlight and performing hits like “Anything Goes” and “Boots On,” Houser is a songwriter who helped pen Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”
We talked to Houser just days before his appearance at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards, a Las Vegas event for which he also performed a USO show.
He still hasn’t entirely adjusted to the swanky awards show scene.
“I get a little freaked out about accolades,” he said.
Houser’s “Boots On” was nominated for Video of the Year at the ACMs, but lost to Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar.”
Allan and Houser teamed for a Civic Center show early last year. Allan released his newest album, “Get Off on the Pain,” in March.
He’s known for hits like “Man to Man” and “Tough Little Boys.”
Since the pair’s last Columbus show, Houser’s popularity has continued to grow — thanks largely to the Internet success of the “Boots On” video, which features a toddler lip-synching.
Despite many changes in the ways music is consumed, Houser said music videos remain a key force in an artist’s popularity.
“I think videos are still very, very important,” Houser said.
Country music has sustained a position in entertainment’s spotlight, thanks to the pop crossover appeal of artists like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.
But a resurgence also extends to the other end of the spectrum — the traditional working-class country fans who are rediscovering the genre, thanks to outlaw musicians like Houser and Jamey Johnson.
“I’m seeing lots of truckers and bikers and mechanics,” Houser said, describing his concert audiences.
Houser’s sophomore album is slated for an upcoming release.
“This album’s a whole lot more organic than the first one,” Houser said, adding that his second disc is more country than his debut effort.
Which is good — you know, in case that dream Western ever comes along.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at email@example.com or 706-571-8516.