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Miss America, a woman who is never at any point referred to by her human name, says that Miss America promotes womanhood. This nameless person, known only by the title of a contest she won that involves wearing swimsuits, introduces Martina McBride. ●
— From a Nashville Scene recap of last Sunday’s ACM Awards.
I had to talk myself down from the ledge before I sang ‘Girl Crush,’ because I was thinking about Trisha [Yearwood]. Trisha was sitting right in front of us all night, and I love her so much — and Martina and all these amazing vocalists — and I thought, ‘Man, I gotta be zoned out and not think about Trisha.’ ●
— Karen Fairchild on singing at the ACM Awards.
It’s ironic that country women are making a lot of the best music out there, but it’s getting more difficult to hear a female voice. […] The quality’s there and there’s an awareness in the industry. If women buy tickets to shows and buy music, and call the radio stations, then female artists will get their shot. You’ve heard of the “good old boy” network? Well, we need to create the ‘good old woman’ network. ●
— Longtime country music journalist Beverly Keel, quoted by ELLE.
I don’t necessarily set out to write feminist songs, but I sure would hate it if I wrote something that was anti-feminist. I can’t ever see me doing that. It’s just not in me. ●
— Brandy Clark may or may not write feminist songs, but she doesn’t write anti-feminist ones.
I think most of the people are there. I really do. And, of course, we are. We have tons of people in our life that are gay, very important people in our life, so for us it’s not an issue. But I think there is a conservative part of the demographic of country music, and they can have their opinion. That’s what this country is all about. Maybe they aren’t ready, I don’t know. It makes me sad that people have the time on their hands to hate. ●
— Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild on country fans’ willingness to accept same-sex relationships.
My first single was called “Never Again, Again.” It was stone country and I had Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White come in and sing the harmony on it. Then, when we were mixing that record, I had to practically wrestle the producer and the engineer like a bear to get them to mix it the way I wanted it with the harmonies. I said, “Go listen to some bluegrass records. The harmonies are as loud — sometimes louder — than the lead vocal.” We went round and round and round. I had a vision in mind for myself that came from that place, that roots music place, from the beginning. I had to decide “Who am I going to be in the Nashville music business?” And that was, from the beginning, who I was going to be. ●
— Lee Ann Womack to The Bluegrass Situation.
The Oklahoma folk singer John Moreland has a beautifully abraded voice, full of potholes and gravel. Rarely does he wield it with power — instead, his soft hallow scrape is marked by flexibility and candor. At the beginning of “Cherokee,” one of the many fine songs on “High on Tulsa Heat,” his third full-length solo album, he sings, “I guess I’ve got a taste for poison/ I’ve given up on ever being well,” and it sounds as if he’s singing from the sickbed somewhere, with no visitors on the horizon. ●
— From Jon Caramanica’s New York Times review of High on Tulsa Heat.
Bowen: I do think that song [“Standards”] is a powerful enough statement to say, “There’s room for all of us. There’s room for country in country music.” I think it’s OK to say that.
Rogers: I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no f**king outlaw. I’ve got a fiddle in my band, and we tour our faces off and we try to get people to have a good time. I go out there and try to be the best representation of what’s country music in my mind. We play rural areas, fairs, festivals, rodeos. We do our thing. I feel like Wade and I made country music on this record. If that’s gonna be pigeonholed as Red Dirt or Texas Country or something other than mainstream country, then whatever, but it’s just country to me. ●
— From a Rolling Stone sit-down with Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers, whose buddy album Hold My Beer, Vol. 1 is getting plenty of positive notice. And rightly so.
We’re supposed to be talking about Second Hand Heart, his terrific new LP. But Yoakam’s brain— like his office, located in the Directors Guild of America building— is overwhelmed with historical artifacts; he struggles to stay on one topic for very long. One minute, he’s addressing the early days of computers in the ’50s (his mother was a key-punch operator). Next, he’s waxing rhapsodic about the fake sitar sound on the Box Tops’ 1968 hit “Cry Like a Baby.” Then, Yoakam declares that his biggest influences are designers Coco Chanel (because she transformed the culture by making fashion sportier and less formal) and Raymond Loewy, who created logos for Exxon, TWA, Nabisco, and the U.S. Postal Service, among many other brands. ●
— From a worthwhile Grantland piece on Dwight Yoakam. And you thought I was joking.
I know what my next record’s gonna be. I made the decision to make a blues record but I was writing other songs, and they have to have a home eventually. I just decided, well, maybe I’ll just make a country record. And by country record I mean what the record after Guitar Town might have been like if Jimmy Bowen hadn’t pissed me off. […] I’m really kind of hard for people to get a handle on, because I come from the ’80s, but I was 31 when Guitar Town came out, so I really come from the ’70s. This next record will sound closer to Waylon’s Honky Tonk Heroes than it will probably anything else. We’ll see. There’s about half a record that already exists. ●
— Steve Earle, in an extensive interview with Mother Jones’ Jacob Blickenstaff. Sounds promising.
I just put Kacey’s new single on my [Sirius XM ‘Outlaw Country’] radio show. She’s the real deal — she can write. It’s not a stylistic thing for me: I think Taylor Swift’s the real deal, and she can write. Sturgill Simpson is the real deal. People who are talking about whether he sounds like Waylon Jennings are missing the point. The guy can write, and that’s what’s important to me. ●
— Steve Earle to the Los Angeles Times.
It’s about how much faith you need to put into whatever you’re doing, and how hard it is to keep that faith. Everyone starts off in this business with huge dreams. Years later, after being signed to a major label, then getting dropped, then getting signed to an indie label, I realized that the dreams I had at the beginning were a bit naive. Metaphorically, Faded Gloryville is a state of mind where you’ve gone from being so excited about something to so tired, and you realize it’s not quite what you thought it was gonna be. You realize just how much you have to sacrifice to make those dreams work, and you need to reassess what you’re doing. Do you stop there, or do you move on? ●
— Lindi Ortega on her next album, Faded Gloryville, scheduled for an August 7th release.
I would just say definitely not to get discouraged, because there are more ‘no’s in this business. Or you get a lot of ‘Looks good, but it probably needs to be better.’ Just continue to know that you are a talented songwriter, and you are a talented singer, and just keep on trucking until one day it hopefully happens for you. Somebody hears your song, or somebody sees you play live … that’s kind of how it happened for me. ●
— Thomas Rhett’s advice for new artists. That’s the same Thomas Rhett who got his first publishing deal AND his first Jason Aldean cut at age 20, by the way.
I could do my own thing. I could definitely do it. I write enough songs. But I definitely don’t want to do it, as far as have to go out, promote it, do the whole radio tour and be on tour the whole time. I did that. I like being able to go on the road with Thomas Rhett or Luke Bryan or Brantley [Gilbert] or Justin Moore and write songs with them [during] the day, and watch. And every now and then, they pull me out on stage to sing with them. That’s about all I need. ●
— Don’t expect Rhett Akins to be firing that solo career back up soon.
I feel like modern country is deliberately dumbing down the human race. They’re deliberately making people take glory in being uneducated and racist, and it’s just sad. I think it’s absolute mind control. ●
— My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James.
Thanks to just two plays on iHeartMedia’s The Bobby Bones Show, unsigned artist Chris Janson hit No. 33 on Hot Country Songs four weeks ago with “Buy Me a Boat.” Now he’s signed. Warner Music Nashville scooped him up, and he’s already writing for a new album. ●
— Billboard Country Update, revealing some of the magic of the Bobby Bones bump.
To me, it was a roller coaster. George was the sweetest man you could meet. But when George would drink, there was a devil that jumped inside of him. […] You can’t walk around and say I never got slapped, I never got hit. You know that’s a lie. I’d say yes on that one. ●
— Nancy Jones, George’s widow, speaking to The Tennessean.
Well, I just don’t place much priority on looking cool. And I think at 25, I’m finally OK with feeling that. I’ve said this before. I think there’s this priority on having this persona of being edgy or cool or bored. And those things are all sexy. All those things are chic, when you seem not to care about anything other than yourself. And I just don’t buy into it. I’m really excited by lots of things. I think enthusiasm is the best protection. It can protect you from anything. And I don’t feel bored by any of this, so I don’t strive to look bored by any of this. ●
— Taylor Swift on retaining her youthful enthusiasm.
It’s always awkward. It’s saved my butt a couple of times, though. When Decca Records shut down and I was going over to MCA, that was when I got into People Magazine as one of the most sexy people, so that kind of carried me for a couple of years. ●
— Gary Allan on his celebrated sexiness.
I’m not a politically correct person. I have a point of view and I’m attracted to people who have a point of view. The world isn’t all happy, shiny people and great art doesn’t come from vanilla. Great art comes from people with a point of view [who] are very passionate. ●
— Scott Borchetta.
I’m not a moody person, but I don’t sit around the house and have a burrito and watch TV like Mr. Happy. I’m usually sitting there thinking about the past, and scared of the future. But it’s not just a neurosis. There are a lot of things that have happened in my life and affected me in a way that I can’t forget and scare me for the future. These are actual concrete things — it’s not just a mental illness.
That’s what [‘Sometimes There’s a Reason’] is really about. A psychiatrist or a pill, that’s not always the answer. Sometimes you just have to live with it. ●
— Billy Bob Thornton says a certain amount of sadness, fear, and regret is to be expected.
The hardest thing for me was to realize it’s cool to ask for help, it’s cool to need help. I’m by no means fixed. I tell my shrink all the time, ‘At what point are you finally going to think I’m a lost cause, you know?’ They just keep prescribing me things and eventually we’re going to get the right concoction, you know. I’m going to be as happy as Luke Bryan is. ●
— David Nail on his continuing battle with depression.
Then headliner Miranda Lambert told a sea of at least 60,000 fans in front of her, “If you have a cold beer, raise it up — we’re gonna do a drinking song,” as she started in on “Heart Like Mine,” in which she sings “Somehow I always get stronger when I’m on my second drink.” ●
— Huh. Miranda Lambert thinks “Heart Like Mine” is a drinking song.
It’s a business, first and foremost. Country music is a business, and that is the biggest problem with it: all the money and lawyers and shit, there’s no room for them in the world that we call “artistry.” You know? That makes no goddamn sense to me. Someone goes up there and paints this beautiful mural, and there’s always gonna be that guy that’s trying to make some money off it. […] Off this beautiful thing that this guy worked on. He’s been working on his craft for years and years. But then there’s that other person, all he sees is dollar signs. That’s what Nashville represents to me. They figured out this way that they don’t even need the painter. They can mock it up with a computer, make it look just as cool, and sell it to the general public who doesn’t know any f**kin’ better. ●
— Whitey Morgan gave a no-holds-barred interview to Vice’s Noisey blog.
Another thing is, okay, so you don’t write any of your own songs. At least pick good songs. You know? That’s the biggest thing, too. George Jones didn’t have one number one hit with a song that he wrote. But you know what? He knew how to pick a good song. That’s just as important. He also knew how to take something that someone else wrote and created, and make it his own. Make it sound legitimate, and make you believe that it’s coming from his heart. That’s just as f**kin’ hard to do as writing your own song. I’ve done both. ●
— Whitey Morgan again. Same interview. You should probably read it.
Q: You’ve written songs for a lot of big commercial acts. Do you think of yourself as walking a line, with your solo music on the rougher side of things and the mainstream artists you write for on the shiny other side? Do you think it’s kind of weird?
A: I think it’s kind of weird that I get to play music for a living, period. I’ve always been someone who tries to do things that will stand up over time. I’m always thankful when anybody wants to record my songs. Every little bit helps, and it lets me play on things and sing on things and make my own records. Sometimes it seems like I’m a musical oddity, where I hop in and out of things that might be opposing forces, but I don’t really feel that way about it. It’s one path for me, and I try to walk through doors that are open. I always try to make myself a little bit uncomfortable, just to see what will happen. That’s what interests me, as much as anything. ●
— Chris Stapleton, addressing the central dichotomy of Chris Stapletonness.
I don’t want to be Vern Gosdin. Music, it evolves. People thought when Garth came along, or Shania, ‘This isn’t country.’ You play ‘Any Man of Mine’ now, and it sounds countrier than a squirrel turd. ●
— Tyler Farr, saving a too-familiar argument with a sudden, unexpected reference to squirrel turds. Which aren’t really that country, are they? We also have squirrels in the suburbs.
“I don’t know. It’s better than this shit,” he said, referring to the other music at Stagecoach. “This is f**king terrible. It’s not even music, man. It’s jocks; it’s not art. Jocks and art don’t belong together; it’s nature. It’s the only way to look at it if you’re honest with yourself.” ●
— Daniel Romano, interviewed at Stagecoach, was not very complimentary of Stagecoach or the other performers there.
I want my career to be one that, when it’s over — and I hope it’s not over until I die, and I hope I don’t die young — I want it to be something that I’m still proud of 20 years from now. I could be wrong about this, but I think 20 years from now, I’m still going to be proud of ‘12 Stories.’ ●
— Brandy Clark on making music for the ages.
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