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Robison: [“Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” is] a better version of that sentiment than Conway Twitty’s “Tight-Fittin’ Jeans,” which is the same story.
Willis: That song makes me want to throw up.
Robison: Exactly. ●
– – Every newspaper should consist solely of the transcribed conversations of Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. From their love song playlist for the New York Times. (Their new duet album is Cheater’s Game.)
I love everything about it. I like that it tells you a great story. All the Rascal Flatts songs, you always wish that you could have written those. It’s like the most beautiful poetry in the world. ●
– – “Today” host Hoda Kotb on country music. Gag.
I think great music just rises to the top. Great music and great melodies and people that mean it, it’s really refreshing when it comes around again. Americana has really come into its own. ●
– – Bonnie Raitt on the rise of Americana.
Q: So what is [the purpose] then? To write meaningful songs and sell albums?
A: No. It’s even more primal than that. And I use the word “primal” because since the beginning of time there’s been man and there’s been Earth and there’s been God. And as long as man has walked on this Earth, there has been God. And man’s purpose is for the glorification of God. I write because it makes God happy that I write. I sing because it makes God happy that I sing. And if it makes God’s people happy, then all the better. But if it fails to do so, it’s probably my fault. I might have missed a note here or there or got a word wrong or whatever else. But I don’t see me ever making an album just to please the people. ●
– – Jamey Johnson is taking this ‘looking like one of the disciples’ thing to extremes. From a fascinating Rolling Stone interview in which he also talks candidly about trouble with his record label.
I’ve never been treated nicer than when I went to jail in Nashville. I think that sums it up. They were so good to me, I took them barbeque the next day. Showed up with a bunch of barbeque and a case of beer, which, of course, they couldn’t drink. But you know, everyone’s been very nice to me, and that’s just representative of the town. Like people say, it’s the biggest small town in America, and people are just very nice, very friendly there, and I dig it. ●
– – Kid Rock on Nashville.
The problem of weak material is compounded by the album’s length – a whopping fifteen tracks, roughly half of which are interchangeable. What’s with the need for today’s artists to fill an album up with fourteen, fifteen, sixteen-plus songs when barely five of those songs have anything substantial or authentic to say? ●
– – Ben Foster on How Country Feels.
But the truth of this thing is at the heart of this thing, and the truth is that for someone to write intelligent, empathetic songs about human beings, that someone must first be an intelligent, empathetic human being. There’s absolutely no way around this. You can’t make this stuff up, even when you’re in the business of making stuff up. ●
– – Peter Cooper in a lovely Tennessean piece on not being disappointed by real-life encounters with his musical heroes. Of course, it probably makes a difference that he had the good sense to admire songs of the intelligent, empathetic sort in the first place…
I think it’s the same [as being an artist]. All you’re really doing is trusting your ears. And trying your hardest to not get in the way of a great song and a great vocal performance. You just pick your spots where you try to nip and tuck things. I think they should call it a ‘reducer’ rather than a producer, because the object is to edit things, get what is the most necessary, and discard the rest. ●
– – Vince Gill on the art of record producing.
You hear artists saying that they had to sing a song their whole lives that they hated. I think that’s a tragedy. Every time I look on my set list and see what song I have next, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is going to be fun!’ And that’s such a blessing for me. I love the vibe. ●
– – Let’s talk again when you’re 65 and singing “Shake it for the critters and the crickets and the squirrels” in Indian casinos, Luke Bryan.
It’s not what I do, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Country music is what country people will buy. What’s happened to it now, which is very healthy, it’s attracting a whole lot of young people who wouldn’t have been there 25 to 30 years ago. As long as it’s healthy, it’s always good for it. ●
– – Kenny Rogers on modern country music.
When we first did radio tours, everybody else is wearing cowboy hats. We’re all stocky, bearded Southern guys and you could see people thinking, ‘What is this?’ But once they hear Zac’s voice and the band behind him, they get it. ●
– – Coy Bowles on introducing the Zac Brown Band to country radio.
You know what? It’s kind of like going back to your abusive husband. I’m just not feeling it. I’m sorry. ●
– – Natalie Maines on the possibility of returning to country music.