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If I make great music and I choose great songs and songs that are compelling and undeniable, even if they’re not talking about beer drinking and partying and trucks, if I make great music, I felt that it would be, I hoped it would be, hard for them to turn down. Every song can’t be about that. There has to be a space and an opening for a female that’s talking about love or breakups or relationships. ●
- – Sara Evans on finding her way back to country radio.
People would ask ‘what is the secret to your success?’ I said, ‘real simple. We had all the acts that nobody wanted. No one wanted Marty Robbins, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and on and on. So we had it made. For years and years, we had all these entertainers to ourselves. It was like a private goldmine. ●
- – The late Tommy Thomas, co-owner of The Palomino Club in North Hollywood, on the venue’s golden age. Quoted in a nice KCET feature on the The Palomino.
Some people can get a little hung up on the tradition and purism side of things. This is 2014 and my producer (Dave Cobb) and I had a long conversation about that. He said “aren’t you worried that people will think you’re running from whatever the last record was?” I said that I’d already made what I call a traditional record and I felt that I’m not running from it. But I certainly didn’t want to turn around and do it again right after that. We incorporated a lot of things this time that will probably take people a little while to get used to. Then I’m not going to make a Merle Haggard record because he already did it and I’m pretty damn sure that I’d never do it as good as he did it (laughs). Taking it somewhere new is the only way it will survive. ●
- – Sturgill Simpson says you should not expect his next album to be much like his last.
That’s the good thing and the bad thing about the scene here. It’s all about touring. It’s all about the fan base, not as much about radio airplay, it’s about getting people in the door. How we make our living is touring and merchandise. That’s the great thing about it is that it helps it create a career where you can play for thirty of forty years like Jerry Jeff Walker or Robert Earl Keen. ●
- – Kevin Fowler on the Texas music scene.
There’s a famous producer [who] told his daughter before she got in the business that this business can break your heart every day if you let it. Songs don’t always get heard just because they’re the best. That’s hard when you’re writing great songs and putting your soul into it. I didn’t have a record deal yet when we wrote ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart.’ I hadn’t had a song recorded by anybody yet. It was that thought, ‘Don’t give up on the dream, even if it breaks your heart.’ It’s good to sing that song and remind yourself why you’re doing it. ●
- – Eric Paslay on “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” which he co-wrote with Will Hoge.
I encounter him in a very different setting the next day, a luxury suite overlooking Kensington Gardens in the Royal Palace Hotel. The singer-songwriter is wearing a long orange puffa jacket and jeans, more Urban Outfitters than rural Americana. A pair of trainers replaces the cowboy boots he wore on stage the night before. His trademark sunglasses have been removed. Sipping from a cup of tea, he does not resemble a man who successfully got stoned in London last night. ●
- – A writer for London’s Financial Times arrived for an interview the morning after an Eric Church show to find the singer not quite the hell-raiser the previous night’s concert had suggested.
It’s an ambassadorship. What we take for granted in Nashville — this in-the-round format where people sit and take turns playing songs on guitars — is kind of exotic to people in other places. You strip everything else away, and it has to work in that moment. ●
- – Emmylou Harris on participating in “All for the Hall” guitar pulls (to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum) in Los Angeles and New York City.
The blustery deer-hunting tribute “Drinkin’ Beer Wastin’ Bullets” had all the subtlety of Hank Williams Jr. The ensuing “Suntan City” turned into a beer-tending session more than a song as Bryan tossed cans of Miller Lite (a sponsor) from a Cabela’s cooler (another sponsor) to fans next to the stage. Then he pandered to the people — or actually pulled the plug on the party — with his flow-impaired rapping on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ pop blockbuster “Can’t Hold Us.” ●
- – From a concert review by Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Jon Bream, in case you were wondering what you miss when you miss a Luke Bryan show.
We tried to headline before. I remember having lunch on the Kenny Chesney tour with Kenny, and my girlfriend — who’s now my wife — was there. Kenny was eating and I said “Yeah, we’re gonna go out and headline next year,” and he stopped, mid-food, and just looked up at me and his eyes went up. He said, “Goood” [skeptically]. My wife and I still talk about that moment, because we did go out in 2006 and 2007 and 2008, playing places that held 20,000 people, and sometimes we were playing for 2,500. I had to make some changes at some point. “What are we doing?” [Laughs] ●
- – Dierks Bentley on the slow build to his first ‘true’ headlining tour after 11 years as a hitmaker.
If you judge a headliner by the company it keeps, Lady Antebellum is brilliant. ●
- – Recurring theme in reviews of Lady Antebellum’s Canadian tour stops: Kacey Musgraves, holding down the opening slot, steals the show. Turns out Canadians have pretty good taste.
Unfortunately there are two or three archetypal females you can be. Either the cutesy, young, clean Taylor Swift-type singer – or the sassy, ‘my boyfriend cheated on me so I crashed his car’-type. Especially in country music, it just seems pretty misogynist. ●
- – Robert Ellis, whose new album is The Lights From The Chemical Plant.
It’s a song that lets me have a career. It’s the reason I’m not working at Lowe’s or Home Depot. ●
- – Lonestar guitarist Michael Britt on “Amazed.”