Quotable Country – 01/20/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

My friend George Teren and I had [a] character that we wrote from just to make sure we were on the same page [with current radio trends]. We wrote a bio for him and everything. Right now it seems like Rodney is a 22-year-old frat boy from Americas, GA, who wants to talk about bonfires, tailgates and tan-lines. Ten years ago, Rodney was a man and tired of pretending like he wasn’t. Twenty years ago, he was probably 35-40, had been married a little while, was probably getting a little tired of his marriage, and liked to stop at the bar for a couple of beers two or three times a week.
– – Via Country Aircheck, Rivers Rutherford on writing hits.

When I first started in country music, it had a very distinct sound. You didn’t have to leave a station on for a few songs to figure out if it was a country music station. But since radio stations were bought up by the big companies like Clear Channel, it seems like music isn’t made for certain genres anymore, it’s made for demographics. It’s a big difference.
You know how old country feels? That sound’s not getting on the radio anymore. Just to stay relevant it has to have more of a pop feel to it. It’s not as distinct. It all got real blurry once it went into this format where they were shooting for demographics.
– – Gary Allan, who has made hits of Rutherford songs “Man of Me” and “Smoke Rings in the Dark.”

As a songwriter, I try not to be sloppy; same with the music. You can be very lean, very efficient, so you’re not wasting a lot of time gettin’ to the point. You’re saying it with as pure a word or phrase as you can. That’s the part that was craft. You refine and refine and refine. Maybe that’s why the songs still hang on, because they’re very pure. For one thing, they’re very short. “Bad Moon Rising” is like 2 minutes and 12 seconds. I would try to do everything as quickly and with as little extra as possible. It was a challenge.
– – John Fogerty on songwriting.

I’m a duets fan anyway. I think two-part harmony is beautiful. Three-part harmony is a little too sweet, and the mystery is gone. Once in a while, obviously, you get something like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or the Pistol Annies, but mostly I go for that hard-core fix in the vocals.
– – Buddy Miller, with some Pistol Annies love, on the Jim Lauderdale collaboration Buddy & Jim.

I got in a deal with that comic Rodney Carrington, and he became aware that he had trod all over this other song called ‘It’s the Little Things That Piss Me Off.’ He tracked down the guy that represented the songs at Bug Music, and said, ‘I want to make this right,’ so he made me a co-writer on the song. That would’ve been the right thing. But you know what they say about people from Oklahoma: They’ll steal your hat and help you look for it.
– – Robert Earl Keen on Toby Keith’s (and, come to think of it, Rivers Rutherford’s…) “Bullets in the Gun,” which bears a more than passing resemblance to “The Road Goes On Forever.”

I never felt like I could sing when I was little, ’cause my voice was so raspy and everybody else had a pretty voice. It wasn’t until I sang in bars for a few years that I realized that the texture of it really [worked for me]. I think I just learned to use that as time went on. I’ve always thought I had a f**ked-up voice, but I could convey emotion really well.
– – Gary Allan on Gary Allan.

Tammy Wynette was just the greatest country singer there ever was. There was a quality to her voice on songs like ‘Apartment No. 9’ like there was no filter between you and her rawest emotions. She had an amazing range; she could go from low note to high note like there wasn’t anything in between. She could sing very soft, and then have the next note come through like a bus. I just felt a lot coming off her.
– – Iris DeMent on her favorite singer.

Songwriting’s always a real personal thing for me. I never was, but some songwriters were very disciplined. They got up and went to work every day and started writing in the morning. They felt if they hadn’t written a song in a day, they were not doing the job. Tom T. Hall used to work around the clock. Of course, he was good, too. I couldn’t do it that way. I always had to wait until I was inspired, and then I could write anywhere I was. I’ve never been a craftsman who can sit down and put in so many hours a day being creative.
– – Kris Kristofferson on letting songs come in their own time.

I am a Christian person, and I do love the Lord, and I feel no matter who you are, what you believe, how you live your life, it’s not my place to judge. I don’t have that power. I don’t want that power. It’s my place to love and to show God’s love to other people, even if they don’t live a life like I live.
– – Carrie Underwood on gay marriage.

Jason Aldean’s ‘Kiss’ Named Scandal of the Year at the Taste of Country Awards
– – An award for Scandal of the Year? Good grief, Taste of Country.

Merle Haggard was the first superstar when I was really getting into all of this. Without knowing it, he did something for me that changed my life. When he was at his zenith, and the entire world was looking at him, instead of doing some flashy, glitzy thing, he went back to the roots of country music and did a tribute album to Jimmy Rogers. I went, ‘I like that concept.’ He was my professor in that way.
– – Marty Stuart hasn’t had any good scandals lately, but he seems like a cool guy. Considerably less cool: Ocala.com misspelling both halves of Jimmie Rodgers’ name.

Q: How would you define your audience?
A: I wouldn’t do that.
– – Well played, Iris DeMent.

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  1. Sabra says

    So men have been getting progressively less mature? Makes sense, and what he said ties in with the Gary Allan songs; they both tie in to the tired of pretending not to be a man thing. (Especially “Smoke Rings in the Dark.”)

    And of course Gary Allan managed to cover Vertical Horizon and make the song so country a lot of people thought his was the original.

    Also, Kristofferson might not consider himself on Tom T. Hall’s level, but I far prefer his output. I’ll take emotion you have to wait for over whatever the hell it is Hall put out any day.

    Lots of good stuff this week!

  2. Sarah says

    I never say this in any context but this one, but hooray for Carrie Underwood!

    At the risk of being boringly predictable in my commentary, my God, Kristofferson is awesome. I think anyone should be commended for putting out any new music at all by 76; he’s certainly earned a rest from writing all day, every day. I’ve never seen a singer, or really any famous person, talk so genuinely about gratitude (in interviews and in lyrics) the way Kris does. It looks like his new album will contain more of the same themes.

    I love Keen’s refusal to take crap from the likes of Toby Keith and his song stealing; I may just go put on The Road Goes On and On and On now.

    Right on to Gary Allan (both quotes – I frequently find I like him as a person better than I like his songs) and Iris Dement. And that Rutherford quote is fascinating; I respect anyone who’s that honest about the changing landscape, even as they’re contributing to it.

    Really good collection of quotes and articles this week, thanks for it.


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