Rich Herring, president and CEO of Wurld Records, has announced the signing of Mark Houser and Bluegrass Drive as the newest act to the expanding label.
Houser and his studio band’s first single, titled “Americanaville”, was released Thursday, July 1. A music video was also released on the same day. The album of the same name will hit the market on Tuesday, July 20.
Houser and Herring have a long and storied relationship as they co-produced Houser’s “Uneven Road” album, which reached #9 on the Billboard Magazine Bluegrass Chart in September 2012.
The album, released on Rural Rhythm Records, featured three chart singles, including the #1 song “Lead Me Home”. The song reached #1 on the Bluegrass Gospel Chart, the Christian Country Weekly Chart, and the Inspirational Country Music Chart. The song featured Rhonda Vincent on harmonies. Also charting from that album was “Uneven Road” at #4 and “River of Regret” at #13.
The new project features more of an Americana feel.
“I tell people it is a Blue-weeds album, because we started out Bluegrass and ended up in the weeds,” Houser said. “Either way it’s American Roots music and it comes from the heart and is about real people.”
The first single has spun a website, Americanaville.net, and a listening room venue in Livingston called Americanaville, which features songwriters and performers each Thursday night. The album includes Nashville players Andy Leftwich, Cody Kilby, Wanda Vick, Mark Fain, Scotty Sanders, as well as Herring and his wife, Suzanne Karr-Herring. Houser wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs and Herring is a co-writer on “Americanaville”, the first single, as well as the the tongue in cheek song “World Renown”. The pair also teamed up to write Little River Band’s “I’m An Island”.
Herring said, “This album is better than the 2012 album in my estimation. We are excited about this project, and while we have had to work around COVID issues, we have finally arrived at a release date.”
Wurld Records also is home to Little River Band, Suzanne Karr, and Dennis Welch.
The first single is a song about every small town in America. As the song says, “It’s who you are, it’s how you feel, Americanaville.”
The album features several surprise appearances, including Tennessee Radio Hall of Famer and sometimes Grand Ole Opry host Philip Gibbons and the spoken word of former member of the Foggy Mountain Boys, Curly Seckler, on a song titled “Lester” that tells the story of a young man listening to Lester Flatt. Houser wrote the song from a first-person account as Flatt’s mother and Houser’s great-grandmother were sisters. The album is dedicated to Houser’s parents, John and Ann Houser, both of whom passed away between the start of this project and its release.
The album opens with Houser’s father’s voice telling a story of a visit to the Smoky Mountains for the National Park’s dedication, leading into the opening song “Long Tall Pines”.
“Rich Herring is a great producer, a great musician, a great singer, and a great friend, to release this project together with him is exciting,” Houser said.
As a songwriter, Houser penned Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain’s #1 song “Seven Miles From Wichita”, called the most played original bluegrass song of 2007 by Sirius Radio. He has also had songs recorded by Rodney Atkins, Grand Ole Opry legend Jack Greene, Little River Band, The Roys, Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply, and Anthony Krizan of the Spin Doctors, among others.
The single is available on iTunes and all digital media outlets as well as from markhouserbluegrass.com.