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Houser makes leap from honky tonks to red carpet

The Associated Press, Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 11:09am (PST)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Randy Houser has no illusions when it comes to the Country Music Association Awards.

The new artist of the year nominee doesn't think he's got even the longest of shots in that category during Wednesday's awards show, where he faces the Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker, Jamey Johnson and Jake Owen.

"I think my chances are somewhere right between slim and none," Houser joked last week. "I'm just a new guy. The fact that I got nominated was just a recognition of things that may come in the next couple of years."

Houser started writing songs and performing on his own as a teenager and had a pretty comfortable life as a honky tonk hell-raiser on a circuit of bars around Meridian, Miss. He arrived in Nashville in 2003 with all his worldly possessions stuffed into a 1992 Falcon.

Six years later, the 33-year-old is up for two awards, including best video for "Boots On." He just released a new single and his next album is due in the spring.

But first, the red carpet and a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream — win or lose.

"I think about all the years I spent sitting on the couch watching those awards and wishing I could just go to them one year," Houser said. "And here I am being nominated for two categories."

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