Randy Houser plays dozens of dates every year, but when he rolls into Mississippi next month for a show at the Neshoba County Coliseum, he and his band will be putting something extra special into their performance.

That night, they won’t just be playing for the fans — they’ll be playing a benefit for Thomas Carson, the band director whose guidance helped inspire Houser to finish school, head to Nashville, and start his career. 

In an interview with Country Weekly, Houser recalled when he met Carson. “I was playing clubs at the time and the thought of going to school was foreign to me,” he explained. “I was judging a talent competition one night and Mr. Carson came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go to college.”

Houser continued, “Come to find out that Mr. Carson was and still is one of those people that take kids like me, recognizes their talents and often ends up giving them scholarships to go play music at East Central. I would have never had the money to go to school without his help.”

When Houser found out that Carson had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer earlier this year, he was eager to do his part. “I always knew that he believed in me and my music,” he said. “I’ll never forget the moment he looked me in the eye and said, ‘If you can get out of this town, you need to go’. I moved to Nashville soon after. He helped me. Now it’s time to help him.”

Houser’s benefit concert for Thomas Carson will take place November 12 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. For more information, visit Houser’s official site.

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