Quotable Country – 02/08/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

a sub-genre of country music sung by young white men, featuring songs with macho themes such as trucks, drinking, and partying
— Cambridge Dictionaries Online definition of “bro-country.”

There so little of this left. At one time, there was so much gold it was falling off trees, and now we’re down to a handful of doubloons.
— Marty Stuart, listening to Merle Haggard perform from backstage. This fine Garden & Gun feature on Stuart is recommended reading.

Songs like ‘Get High,’ that was a song that wasn’t even demoed because the publisher wasn’t gonna spend money on that song, because there’s no way anybody (else) would record that.
— Brandy Clark on falling into the ‘artist’ thing as a means of getting her songs into the world.

I definitely feel like people, for whatever reason, have branded me as someone who is carrying the torch for traditional country music. And there’s no other torch I’d rather carry. But it makes me really think, as I go forward, “OK, I want to be really thoughtful in my choices.” As someone who’s loved traditional country music my whole life, I don’t take that lightly. […] I know what country meant in my life. I think about when I saw the movie Sweet Dreams and the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter and how in love I felt with that music. Because when I was a kid, the music on country radio was pretty pop. So I fell in love with a very traditional sound. I think about being a little girl and listening to those songs in my bedroom, and I think, “Man, if somebody’s listening to my music and it’s gonna shape the music they’re gonna make 25 years from now in a positive way, then that’s great.”
— Brandy Clark again. Giving lots of interviews this week ahead of her Grammy performance with Dwight Yoakam.

I think she is a true genius, and she only does what she does, and from my experience of working with singers, the worst thing you can have is someone who does so many things. Brandy does one thing – and she knows no other way. Even in trying to suggest a change in the melody, she always reverts back to the original thing she does, and that’s a strength. She’s very pure in that, she’s focused, and her artistry is what it is. On top of all that, she’s very wise, and she surrounds herself with people who challenge her. She always keeps her ego in check, and is always focused on whatever it takes to write the perfect song or give a great interview. She’s very self-aware, and stays true to herself.
12 Stories producer Dave Brainard on Clark.

[He] didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t. He didn’t say that to me, but I know way back when he didn’t. Buck Owens did, and he recorded some of my early songs. Together Again, that’s Buck Owens. And that trumps anything else out of Bakersfield. Buck Owens or Merle Haggard, if you had to have somebody’s blessing, you can figure it out.
— Bob Dylan on Merle Haggard, during a 30-minute MusiCares Person of the Year acceptance speech that took a few strangely bitter-sounding turns.

Bob Dylan I’ve admired your songs since 1964. “Don’t Think Twice” Bob, Willie and I just recorded it on our new album.
— Merle Haggard to Bob Dylan, via Twitter. With the class.

I think at some point it’s obvious that there was a shelf life with me and spring break.
— Luke Bryan, 67, announcing his last Spring Break beach concert and EP.

I think one of the most important things is just getting your ass off the stage as quickly as possible.
— Frankie Ballard on sticking to your allotted time as an opening act. Credit him with being at least a little brighter than Eric Church in that respect.

Some people use music as cathartic moments to put things in order in their mind, in their own world perspective. But some people say, ‘Enough of that shit. I wanna go party.’ Music can serve both purposes, but [preferences] tend to cycle. And they tend to cycle in the tastes of the collectives that vote for awards.
— Dann Huff, commenting on a meaty year for the country albums category at the Grammys.

With my new album The Underdog, we focused on songwriting, lyrical integrity, melody, music. Everyone talks about the ‘new format.’ Well I’m here to do my thing. I told [producer] Keith Stegall I wanted to make the best record in country music and he didn’t even chuckle. He said, “Let’s do it.” I wasn’t being arrogant, I was being confident. It’s me pushing myself.
— Aaron Watson, whose new album arrives February 17.

It’s always exciting for the band and I to get up there and see what it’s going to be, especially if there’s pyro. It’s never the same when they say, ‘OK, now there’s an explosion.’ Then you’re onstage, it happens and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ That’s my favorite part. I just like the energy of it.
— Miranda Lambert on elaborate live productions. She’ll perform “Little Red Wagon” on tonight’s Grammy Awards.

It’s neat to hear a song with a story from a heartfelt position. You don’t hear folk songs on the radio anymore, and that’s a folk song. John Denver could have recorded that song. John Prine could have cut that song. Johnny Cash could have cut that song in a different way. It’s a breath of fresh air.
— Co-writer Jaren Johnston on “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.”

I think she’s pretty respected even by people who don’t listen to pop country. I think she’s considered a little more authentic than a lot of people. She’s kind of untouched because she hasn’t put anything out in so long. She hasn’t really made the “I’m doing this for the mortgage” record. Like, “Here’s a song about texting.” She’s still riding on the “Oh, that was the ’90s, so if it’s cheesy it’s the times.”
— Lydia Loveless on Shania Twain.

His refusal to attempt to cash in on any sound or style is admirable — he could’ve rewritten [debut album] ‘Guitar Town’ a hundred times by now, but he has too much integrity and intellectual-artistic curiosity to limit himself to a genre or to try to write a hit. I’m not sure if there are any other artists who have thrown themselves into as many different styles of music with as much artistic success. Neil Young, I suppose, and maybe Beck, but it’s a very short list.
— Drummer Will Rigby, who plays on the upcoming blues album Terraplane, on Steve Earle.

Rush also plans to look after his cat Conway Kitty, named after the country music star Conway Twitty. It was on Rush’s trip to the grocery store for cat food last weekend, when he found out he had won the $50-million prize.
— A Canadian lottery winner will use some of the money to care for his cat, Conway Kitty. A+

But an actor is pretending to be somebody, a singer isn’t. And that’s the difference. Singers today have to sing songs where there’s very little emotion involved. That and the fact that they have to sing hit records from years gone by doesn’t leave a lot of room for any kind of intelligent creativity.
In a way, having hits buries a singer in the past. A lot of singers hide in the past because it’s safer back there. If you’ve ever heard today’s country music, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Why do all these songs fall flat? I think technology has a lot to do with it. Technology is mechanical and contrary to the emotions that inform a person’s life. The country music field has especially been hit hard by this.
— Bob Dylan again.

I try to sing with as much belief as I can, and I like to believe in what I’m singing. A lot of this record we recorded as live performances. I think sometimes we give a little too much power to engineers. We can edit the life out of things that actually move people and it dehumanizes it.
— Chris Stapleton.

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