Quotable Country – 03/15/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

I don’t have a ton of money in the bank. I was getting to a point where I can’t do this independently anymore. That’s why it became really clear when they called that this was the right decision.
— Meghan Linsey, speaking frankly of her reason for trying “The Voice.”

Rock was for the unpopular guy who couldn’t get a girl, started by a kid who was bullied. Then fathers even liked it and it became as American as apple pie. […] Now the singer is the quarterback. But I don’t want to sing for the football team; I want to sing for the girls who don’t have a date and the guys who are misunderstood. I have a different kind of ambition. I have no plans to be famous.
— Good ol’ Todd Snider.

I think human beings are awful — we turn into a tornado and ruin everything. I don’t care for democracy, I don’t care for the American system. This lie that everybody has a chance to win. The truth is, there is zero motivation for somebody to succeed in this country. America is not designed for everyone to succeed. It’s designed from its core to be full of losers. […] I’ve been here 48 years, and I do not feel there is anything on this planet that is worth hanging around for.
— Snider again, sounding very troubled in an interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

They built a solid, Motownish demo with the tracks, and Stapleton channeled an estimated 15 tracks of background vocal parts, some of them adding a quasi-gospel Mavis Staples feel.
“He sounds like five black women on there,” says [Gary] Allan. “Those are all his voices.”
— From a Billboard Country Update feature on Allan’s new “Hangover Tonight.”

It was very different. There were writers that wrote alone and they were revered. There was Bob McDill, and then what I call my graduating class there were Tony Arata and Lee Prestwood. The great thing about it was, if we wrote a good-enough song, it didn’t matter that we didn’t write with a producer or an artist. The song found its way by itself. All the publishing companies were in little houses. At 5:30, everybody cracked open a beer and wanted to hear whatever great song had just been written. It didn’t really matter where it emanated from. I remember people running up the street with cassettes, saying, “You’ve got to hear this!” We all celebrated that great song, no matter where it came from. It was small and close-knit and song-centric. And I loved that. My first publishing deal was with a publisher who had Steve Earle, Gail Davies and two or three other people. That sense of cheerleading for a great song … it was so inspiring to know that’s what people valued. The great songs still beat down the door sometimes but probably not as often as they did.
— Gretchen Peters on Nashville in the late ’80s.

What poetry did was to give me a really strong sense that rhythm and music already exist in the words. I always say I’m from the Bob Dylan School of melody: I write the lyric and then I drive a melody under it and hope it holds up the words. I’m 90 percent lyric-driven. I work on the music, though – not that I don’t work on the words, but I’ve never been one of those people that has a million melodies in my head.
— Gretchen Peters again.

That would just be dreadful, wouldn’t it? I find that to be narcissistic. I don’t use songwriting for therapy — I use therapy for therapy. I use songwriting to try and make beauty out of something that didn’t exist in a beautiful form before I created it.
— Mary Gauthier on the idea of songwriting as therapy.

I’ve always wanted children. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted a son.
— New father Dallas Davidson. He added: “So yeah, it’s a good thing I had a baby boy. Have you SEEN all the insulting, horrific things I’ve written about the world’s daughters?”

“Bro-country”, epitomised here by tank-topped duo Florida Georgia Line, is divisive – and it’s easy to see why. It is disconnected from the roots of the genre: subtlety and skill is replaced by deliberately obnoxious, beery chauvinism and alpha-male rock posturing. Here no trick is too obvious, no lyric too basic: almost every one of their chest-bumping, fist-pumping frat-party anthems seems to refer to a Friday or Saturday night, while Sippin’ on Fire, for instance, rhymes “fire” with not only “desire” but “lighters”. It might be easier to take if the sneering voice of Tyler Hubbard and the barrage of guitar didn’t recall Nickelback quite so much, and if the horndog leering on songs such as Sun Daze wasn’t quite so gross: “I’ll sit you up on the kitchen sink / And stick the pink umbrella in your drink”. It’s the kind of thing that would drive the characters in Womack’s songs back to the bottle.
— The Guardian, in a review of a weirdly two-faced Country 2 Country festival night that saw Brandy Clark and Lee Ann Womack leading into Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.

Bryan definitely understands the spring break mentality, having strategically placed beer-filled coolers across the stages and filling a funnel for a group of fans as he rolled by. Moments later, he was lecturing a couple of men who were fighting in the crowd during the show. Ten minutes after that, he was saluting the gigantic American flag that flies over Spinnaker Beach Club with a singalong version of the national anthem.
— Via CMT, what you missed if you missed Luke Bryan’s final spring break show.

Bryan, though — what do we even know about him? He’s from Georgia and likes hunting? After that, we’re tapped. Mostly, he has the beige ‘nice guy’ persona. Sometimes he gets a little naughty in his songs, talking about taking too many shots or hitting on the ladies or indulging in some carefree break-up sex. But that’s all an act. In real life, Bryan has been happily married for eight years and has two young sons.
The only thing that set him apart was his weirdly deep love of spring break. Now that it’s gone, we’re hoping this is a signal that Bryan will finally evolve into something beyond young demo-targeted bro country.
— The Washington Post’s Emily Yahr on Bryan: “Luke Bryan’s ‘Spring Break’ is ending. Can the Prince of Bro Country grow up now?”

When I first started out I was 17 — I was 17 to 20 when I was writing my first record. When I got a record deal I said, ‘I’m only wearing jeans. I’m not wearing frilly dresses.’ Dancing around in sequins is just not who I am. I wanted to be heard, not seen. People were like , ‘Well, you know, you need to kind of be flexible on that,’ and I just wasn’t at all. Looking back on it, it was a little extreme, but I really stuck to it. Luckily it worked, but even if it didn’t, I always knew that I’d be able to sleep at night.
— Miranda Lambert.

It depends on which lane you want to be in. That is a very broad statement, and you could shoot holes in it all day long. You can look at an artist like Sturgill [Simpson] who has a fantastic career that he has built from the ground up. You can look at several different artists that are just a little bit to the left of center, that have built great careers. If you want to play in the mainstream country game, you’re not going to win it if you’re not winning it at mainstream country [radio]. I look at that as a very specific thing.
— Scott Borchetta, responding to Gary Overton’s comments on the importance of country radio.

Remember When Natalie Maines Criticized the President?
— Thanks for bringing this up again twelve years later, Taste of Country. I always thought it didn’t get quite enough attention at the time.

I hope it helps radio and listeners know that there’s room for all of it. I have nothing against anybody writing trucks and tailgates and moonlight and all the stuff that they write, because country music is about getting out and having a good time. But country music is about life, too. Every day isn’t shiny and beautiful, and songs that have something to say and speak to the heart of the country listener, that’s what made me wanna do this. Songs that said something and made me feel something. Every day isn’t sunshine and roses; life isn’t that way, and I got into this business because of songs that made me cry at times, made me feel something, talked about other people hurting.
— Brice Long, Randy Houser’s co-writer, on the success of “Like a Cowboy.”

I see so many people living in a bubble. They want to be safe, they want their kids to be safe and they want their friends to be safe. And I get that. That’s awesome and really admirable. But life is not about who gets out the cleanest at the end, or who’s the most well-preserved and healthiest. I refuse to believe that is what life is about — life is about living. […] The best times I’ve ever had and the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned were when my feet were out over the edge of the line and I was at risk of getting a little beat up, physically and emotionally. That’s what I hope people take from this song. I hope they hear it and go, ‘I’m going to interview for this job’ or ‘I’m going to move to L.A. I’m going to build this motorcycle that I always wanted to build. I’m going to f**king do it.’
— Frankie Ballard on new single “Young and Crazy.”

Maybe as what not to do.
— Daniel Romano on whether he’s influenced by modern country music.

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  1. says

    That second quote from Snider is alarming.

    “sneering” is the exact word that I’ve been looking for to describe Tyler Hubbard’s voice!

  2. Scotty J says

    Luke Bryan has to be the least charismatic superstar ever. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about him. Not a great writer, voice is only OK, from what I’ve seen he’s not a dynamic live performer. I just don’t get how he is at the level he is.

    • Sabra says

      I have never heard a Luke Bryan fan talk about how great his songs are or his voice is. It is always, invariably, how his ass looks in those jeans.

        • says

          I’ve never seen any country superstar come off as a characture quite like him. When he took in his nephew, I thought ‘wow there really is a person underneath it all.’ How sad is that?

          I actually do really enjoy his voice but it’s a new generation and the idea of a country superstar, and how they should act, has changed. They can obviously get away with so much more now. I’m way too old school for my own good…at 27. The shift came on without warning and I’m still not ready for it.

  3. CraigR. says

    Sadly I agree with Snider on a certain level. And a spot on review of FGL. But what the hell is Gary Allan saying? And I wish more people listened to Gretchen Peters. What a great new record she has out now. But no airplay. Now that is sad.

    • Melissa says

      I just had the privilege of seeing Gretchen Peters and her husband Barry Walsh at Gypsy Sally’s in DC. I was not that familiar with her at the time. There were about 80 people there but we were the luckiest 80 people in Georgetown that night. Her recordings and songwriting are great but they could never capture her talent like a live show does. And if you have the Amazon Prime music app you can download many of her albums with your Prime membership. It’s is WELL worth it to see her live and get her music.

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