IF YOU GO
* What: Heartstrings for Hope concert for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
* When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.
* Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
* Admission: $39 floor, $29 balcony; a few scattered singles remain.
* Phone: 642-TIXS.
Joey & Rory, Jerrod Niemann, Jacob Lyda, Randy Houser, Kelley Lovelace and Chris Young.
Randy Houser says sometimes a song is motivated from the writer's need to express a feeling, other times purely to get a song with a catchy hook on the radio.
"Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," Houser's song that became a huge hit for Trace Adkins, is an example of the latter.
Houser's newest single, "In God's Time," which will be released in late March, is an emotional example of the first. The moving ballad reminds listeners that events good or bad don't happen on our schedule but God's.
It's a song most appropriate for the upcoming Heartstrings for Hope benefit for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Houser and six other singer/songwriters will sit down Tuesday night to share their hits with fans and the stories behind those songs.
Although "In God's Time" hasn't hit airwaves yet, fans have discovered Houser's live performances of it on YouTube. Radio stations across the country are already getting calls to play the single.
Houser said the song came from a sense of frustration in his own life.
"It had been on my heart for awhile. You start thinking about the passing of time. I'd been unhappy because things weren't happening exactly like I thought they should. Then I slowed down and realized God has his own plan," said the singer.
"If we can just be smart enough to stay out of his way, not create so much strife on ourselves, then things will fall into line. It's something that needs to be said. Sometimes people need to be reminded that things don't happen in our own time."
Houser said Heartstrings is one of his favorite benefits in which to perform.
"I'm a big believer in doing charity shows, and St. Jude is a huge organization that needs so much money. If we were to quit doing benefits as artists for any of these organizations that help kids, then it would be like saying we gave up on fighting those diseases."
Joining Houser onstage at Heartstrings will be his good buddy Jerrod Niemann.
Houser, Niemann and Jamey Johnson have become the three amigos of country music. Houser and Johnson appear in Niemann's "Lover, Lover" video; Houser and Niemann recently toured with Gary Allan, and Houser and Johnson will tour this summer with Willie Nelson on Nelson's Country Throwdown Tour.
"Three boys from three little towns, and we all moved to Nashville about the same time. It's kind of you against the world because it's such a hard town to get ahead in musically," explained Houser.
"We met and all of us understood that we wanted to be the best artists we could, do things our way, and we found a kinship with one another. When you don't have family around, you lean on your friends."
And that's the plan for Tuesday night: friends coming together to help children of St. Jude.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...