Cowboy Songs From A Real-life Cowboy: Randy Huston

by Preshias Harris / 618 days ago / Comments

Times Like These weaves the heartbreak and humor of the cowboy life

Randy Huston doesn’t just write and sing about cowboys.  He is one.  A fourth-generation livestock producer and rancher, Huston’s songs don’t shy away from the challenges faced every day by people who truly live the cowboy life, but his songs can also reflect the peace and tranquility that come with the territory.

His latest album, Times Like These, is likely to reach new fans worldwide while being a welcome addition to the collections of his loyal fan base. It is available now at all major outlets and as physical CD or digital download direct from the ‘Music’ section of his website

One thing that is apparent is the respect and affection that Huston has for animals in his life. He told me about the origin of the song “Reflections.”

He said that his work means that he spends a lot of time alone, often just with his dog and his horse, but humans crave interaction. “We are vocal beings and I talk to my horses, I talk to my cows, I talk to my dog and it turns out they are all very good listeners,” he said.

“I was in the pickup and Molly, my dog, was in the passenger seat,” Huston recalled.   “I looked over there and I was feeling particularly disappointed with myself about something and I turned to her and I said, ‘You wouldn't look at me that way if you really knew what I did or what I was thinking.’  She just looked at me, like hanging on my every word and I looked back at her again and I thought, ‘You're seeing a different reflection than what’s really over here.’  And I thought, ‘My goodness! There we go!’ I began to think about it in the same context with my horse and it was the same thing. It's like they see me in a way that I wish I really was or I’d really like to be.”

You don’t need to be a cowboy to relate to Huston’s words in “Reflections.” If you’ve ever experienced the unconditional love you feel when you look into the eyes of your dog, this song is for you.

A deeply touching track on Times Like These is “The Hands That Held the Child,” inspired by a sculpture with that title that his friend Duke Sundt was creating for a monument dedicated to Gold Star Mothers who have lost a child in military service.  Huston has been asked to perform the song at the National Convention of the American Gold Star Mothers and also at monument dedications.

“It's very hard to do and even when I do it just in a concert setting,” he admitted to me, “If I'm not careful and I look out in the audience it can completely stop me because it's not uncommon to see grown men sitting out the audience with tears running down their cheeks.”

The album contains some more lighthearted songs, too, somewhat showing the influence of cowboy poet Baxter Black, including “Cowboy Card” and “Tumblebug Blues.”  “Cowboy Card” has a little fun at the expense of certain people who try to convince others that they are part of the cowboy world when they really aren’t. The lyrics are told from the point of view of this ‘make believe’ cowboy, going through all the motions with the hat, the boots and the spurs, until he can go down to the county clerk’s office to pick up his ‘cowboy card’!

Huston knows what he’s talking (and singing) about: he was one of the last people to trail-drive cattle to the railroad stock pens, a long-gone era now that cattle are transported by truck.

“I was thinking about it one day, about how I was awfully lucky to have been in on the end of that,” he said describing the inspiration for “Way of the Cowboy,” another song on the album. “My goal was to write a song. first and foremost, where it was difficult to tell whether it was taking place now or it took place in, say, 1867 in the heyday of the trail drives. With the exception of just a couple of things, I have done everything that's in that song.”

Which brings us to the album’s title track, “Times Like These.” Written by Huston initially for him to sing at a Celebration of Life service following the death in a car wreck of a couple who were his dear friends, the song transcends the specific circumstances that led to its creation.

“It could mean something completely different to you,” he pointed out, “And that's fine because the face value of that song is that we have the strength to get through times like these.  For the listener, that could be Covid or the recession or whatever it might be.”

His songs resonate far beyond the diehard cowboy music fans: Songs from Times Like These, used as background for videos, have been viewed over 4.2 million times on TikTok, and over 1.5 million views on Instagram.

“If you look at the songs I write, family and faith are right at the top,” said Huston. “And there’s a strong sense of honor and morals, and a relationship with people. The bottom line for me is that I don’t think I could write the songs I do, if I didn’t live the life I do.”

Find Times Like These at Randy Huston’s website here, keep up with him of Facebook here and on TikTok (@randyhustonmusic)


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About Preshias Harris

Preshias Harris Journalist

Preshias Harris is a music journalist who has interviewed everyone from Alabama to ZZ Top for articles and stories published in numerous music magazines. She is the author of longest-running monthly country music column in America and authored The College of Songology™ 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s ‘Need To Know’ Reference Handbook. As a music career development consultant with special emphasis on emerging and aspiring artists and songwriters, she focuses on ‘chasing the dream’ while understanding the realities of the music industry. She maintains a writers’ room on Music Row – named The Sangtuary – for her clients and their co-writers. She is a member of ASCAP (as a publisher), BMI, The Country Music Association (CMA), The Recording Academy, The National Association of Talent Directors (NATD) and a life member of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

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