East Belfast singer songwriter
Born in east Belfast, and growing up in the 70s and 80s, Brian Houston’s musical influences range from the old time gospel tunes of the church at the end of the street, to the late night indoctrination of bootlegged Hank William’s reel to reels
‘My Dad used to make us sit in the hall way when he came home drunk and he would play us Kris Kristopherson and John Prine as well as Hank, and always rewind the tapes endlessly to draw our attention to the words,' said Houston.
Naturally he rebelled against such force-feeding and found the sounds of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Steve Earle more stimulating. As a teenager he played local church halls, forming a circuit that made up Irish Sunday night entertainment for young people. Soon, however, Houston graduated to the local pub scene, where he learned to win over audiences baying for chart cover versions with his original songs and performance ability.
As the 90s progressed, Houston fronted a succession of bands and entered various talent competitions, leading to trips to London where he met producers keen to work on his songs. He made demo recordings with Mike Howlet of GONG, Adrian Lee of Mike and the Mechanics, and Peter van Hook, behind the success of Tanita Tikarum, trying different styles and searching for his own sound.
Releasing some of the music locally, he achieved his first taste of chart success with his own compositions, which helped to score support slots with visiting international stars. He performed onstage with Elvis Costello, Dr John, Van Morrison and various English chart acts and American country stars.
In recent times, Houston has toured England as an opening act for American country rockers Stewboss, which exposed him for the first time to audiences and reporters completely unfamiliar with his Irish pedigree. With well crafted songs and an intense live performing style, he began to endear himself to—and ultimately win over—crowds enchanted by his passionate delivery and intimate lyrics. Legendary BBC broadcaster Bob Harris was foremost in the queue to join the Houston fan club, championing his music on national radio.
Further information from Houston's own website, www.brianhouston.com.