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Every song I’ve written in the last couple of years, I was always thinking of who’s recording now, or who’s looking for songs, or what I could do to write for somebody else and get another ‘Truck Yeah.’ ●
— Actual thing said by “Buy Me a Boat” singer Chris Janson. Dear God.
I really do believe the music should be first. That’s what people come to see and hear, their favorite songs. If we get that music first, then the other stuff is just gravy. I’ve said over the years I’m not a big believer in production, and I contradict myself all the time. ●
— Kenny Chesney, launching his gargantuan Big Revival Tour in Nashville.
This is the craziest much ado about nothing that I’ve been involved in in forever. It’s a reflection on how the media likes to whip up a frenzy with headlines. ●
— Universal Music Group CEO Mike Dungan on the “Girl Crush” hubbub. What hubbub, you say?
But is doing a full-court press to convince country fans that “Girl Crush” has been vetted as 100 percent heterosexual a case of winning the battle and losing the war? Little Big Town’s label, Capitol Nashville, produced a commercial in which the band explains the content — not wholly unthinkable in a format that loves story-songs, but a pretty transparent move to head off wayward fantasies of lesbian agendas, in this instance. Even singer Karen Fairchild told Bones, “But what if it were [about] same-sex attraction?” — before adding, “It’s just a greater issue of listening to a song for what it is.” And thus a very understandable dance continues: But why should it matter if it were a gay-themed song? But don’t worry, it’s not! ●
— Chris Willman, writing for Yahoo on the whole “Girl Crush” thing. Great overview of how the whole story unfolded. Supplement that with the thorough data breakdown by Windmills Music and you have everything you actually need to know presented in a fair, levelheaded way.
Maybe the real controversy is that a 6/8 ballad is on country radio. ●
— Karen Fairchild, summing things up handily.
Country fans are more loyal than other radio fans, but even that is changing. People are generally less loyal today to brands like that than ever before. ●
— Lance Houston, program director at iHeartMedia’s new-ish Boston country station WBWL/The Bull, finding opportunity to grab market share from more established WKLB. Building on a lack of loyalty? Sure, sounds good. Hard to imagine that plan backfiring in any way down the road…
Who Was There: A small group of about 100 friends and relatives, including officiant and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson and Aldean’s daughters Keeley and Kendyl. ●
— From a report on Jason Aldean’s wedding. Criminy.
They woke me up every day at daybreak. I would make my bed, attend the morning meeting, take valium to soothe the delirium tremens and talk about my feelings all day to different groups of men who were in similar situations. Some were addicted to hard drugs, usually opiates. My first roommate in rehab, an opiate addict who used needles, said he was grateful to be a junkie rather than a drunk. “You don’t see ads for heroin in magazines or billboards with beautiful girls holding needles. You can’t buy junk in every corner bar. Drunks have a hard time,” he told me. ●
— Jason Isbell, writing about his own rehab experience for a TIME piece on Jon Hamm.
It doesn’t seem to be as depressing as the last record [laughs]. I mean, life is depressing and funny and great all at the same time, but that last record did have a pretty high body count, and I don’t think this one’s quite as somber in tone.
I’m still trying to do the same thing. I’m still trying to explain relationships between people, and relationships with an individual and his or her past, and the sort of things you trade in to be happy the older you get—I think that’s a big concern on this record. I don’t know if I want to say a theme, because I try to stay away from picking out themes, that’s for other folks to do. But there are a lot of instances of some sort of exchange. Exchanging freedom or exchanging something that you thought you had in the past in order to be a happier person in the future. ●
— Jason Isbell on his next record, which he estimates could be out in July.
John Prine is a big influence on me. [His music is] so perfectly unstructured, but yet still structured. Those are the hardest kinds of songs to write.
I love depressing songs, but I like it when there’s a bit of humor in a depressing song. I love when there’s a bit of a conundrum like that — like when there’s a happy song that sounds really sad or a really sad song that might have kind of a lilt to it. It’s like you don’t quite know what to feel. ●
— Kacey Musgraves, who also might have a new album out early this summer.
I hope it has a little sound of Tom Petty in it. I hope one day he may hear the song and think, ‘Oh, this is cool, it’s The Heartbreakers.’ ●
— Chase Bryant, country artist, on his second single. Lacking no confidence.
When I went with him, we were doing a rehearsal and he said, “Well, guys” — and, of course, he was making changes to his band at the time — so Merle said, “I recorded [about] 300 songs, and I know every one of them. I expect you guys to do the same. I may pull any one of them out at any time.” And that’s what he did. We never knew what Merle was going to sing. Never knew. He would just launch into it or say, “Do this,” “Kick that off.” He kept you on your toes, and it kept him on his toes by the same token. ●
— Ronnie Reno on what it’s like being in Merle Haggard’s band.
The ascent of the concert technician reflects a seismic shift in the economics of the music industry. As concerts and festivals increasingly become a vital source of profits, cultural “middlemen”—label executives, talent scouts and other traditional tastemakers—are losing clout, experts say. Technical middlemen—artist managers, concert promoters, festival organizers, and social-media promoters, as well as DJs and roadies who mix sound at shows—are gaining it. ●
— Wall Street Journal: “Roadies: Unlikely Survivors in the Music Business.”
I’ve come to realize that people see me as the guy that’s pretty good at bringing them good-feeling summertime music. I see it on Twitter. And it makes me feel really good because I’ve finally reached a point in my career where I have a brand and a niche that I’m filling in the musical lives of people. ●
— Jake Owen. Hopefully this doesn’t mean we get less like “What We Ain’t Got” in the future.
“It feels free, but it’s in fact not free,” he states. “I draw the parallel to Spotify and our relationship with water in our homes.” He points out that artists have always been used to selling a product like a recording or performance to a consumer, and that’s the end of the transaction.
“That’s the way things have always been in the music business, and now we have more of a utility model, and this feels weird and unsettling to artists the way that it would feel weird and unsettling to all of a sudden have coin slots put in your home, so that every time you wanted a glass of water you have to pay a dime, or every time you want to take a shower, you have to pay a quarter,” he says. “It would feel weird and unsettling, like, ‘Man, this is not what I’m used to.’ So I think a lot of it is the discomfort from the transition from an acquisition model to a utility model.” ●
— Thirty Tigers co-founder David Macias, quoted discussing Spotify in a Taste of Country piece on its pros and cons.
We’re going to have a commemorative handgun coming out. It’s a Colt 1911 which will be commemorating 25 years of Aaron Tippin. ●
— Start saving up your dollars for the Aaron Tippin commemorative handgun, gang!
Careless comments aside, country fans are indeed more conservative, and there’s evidence to suggest they’re more hawkish too. A 2004 Gallup poll found 58 percent of country fans identify as right-leaning, compared with 11 percent liberal and 30 percent moderate. ●
— Careless comments aside? Washington Post blog, quoting statistics from the very different country/political scene of 11 years ago to explain a current news story.
You know, Africans tend not to have the same concepts of racial dynamics that we do in the States. I mean, of course, there is an awareness of it, but at the same time it does not come into play in the exact same way. Often times race tends to be perceived more as culture. So someone like Nat King Cole, despite the fact that he is a black man, was still considered to be white music because he comes from the land of the white people. So country music was not perceived as white music, at least not more so than jazz was, or any other kind of Western music. ●
— Uchenna Ikonne on the enduring popularity of Jim Reeves in Nigeria.
Guys are coming up to me and saying stuff, like, ‘Boy, it must be wonderful after all those years of struggling on your music career!’ But I wasn’t doin’ anything with my music! All I was doin’ was playing my guitar on the street, and I got lucky one day, ya know? It really was a blessing. ●
— Doug Seegers, catapulted from homeless guy playing guitar to international music star by one chance encounter with a Swedish artist.
I wanted to start making records that are a little more country. I really hope I have hits — I’m not saying I don’t. But let’s put out “Good for a Good Time.” Let’s see what happens. ●
— Darius Rucker, campaigning for a song described by USA Today as a “honky tonk shuffle” with a “sweet Dobro intro” to be a single off of Southern Style.
I’d rather disappear and never be heard of again than put out a record nobody needs to hear. What’s the point? Just keeping my name out there? I’m not that interested in you or anybody else knowing my name. I am interested in all the good that music can do for the human spirit. It’s needed, and if I can be part of that — well, that’s what drives me and makes me want to do this. ●
— Iris DeMent.
Carolyn at Goodnight Hestia has a few solid song recommendations for you.