In 2019, Randy Houser dropped a hidden gem of an album, Magnolia. The record truly broke the bro-country stereotype that Houser had been previously associated with and is packed with gorgeous tracks; however, one stands out. That song is Evangeline.
Unlike the rowdy, rockin’ songs that Houser had become famous for during the 2010s such as Runnin’ Outta Moonlight and How Country Feels, Evangeline ultimately feels like a much more delicate song that would feel right at home in the discography of the singer/songwriters of today such as Charles Wesley Godwin and Zach Bryan.
The aforementioned delicacy of the track is what sets it apart from so many other tracks from Houser. Co-written by him and James Otto, Evangeline captures this fleeting moment of freedom shared by the narrator and the titular woman. There’s a hint of desperation and frustration with the small town the pair are escaping from that ultimately gets overcome by the freedom experienced through each other’s presence. There is a certain power in the simple act of taking this drive out to New Orleans; it’s almost as if the Mississippi River becomes a sort of salvation, giving it an almost baptismal feeling.
There’s something so heart-felt and beautiful about Houser belting out the single-line bridge after the aforementioned Mississippi River line,
“Baby, let me show you the streets that gave you your name”
The studio version is already incredible with Houser’s vocals. However, once you add the legendary Jamey Johnson, the song becomes transcendent. The piano-led ballad is accompanied by the horns during this performance at Farm Aid 2019. The brass section further captures the vibe of the Big Easy that is already present in the lyrics, making it the perfect addition to this already stunning song.
Watch it here: