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I’d like to think that I am expressing what nearly every artist, musician and songwriter (with perhaps a few exceptions) is thinking when I contend that the Bro’ Country phenomenon must cease.
It has had its run for better or worse and it’s time for Nashville to get back to producing, and more importantly promoting, good singers singing real songs. It’s time for country music to find its identity again before it is lost forever. ●
- – ’90s star Collin Raye, in an editorial for Fox News.
His songs are simple, but they said a lot. One of the great things about his songs, even though he was a country boy and a country singer, his style surpassed all genres. You could have someone like Kitty Wells have a number one record on ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You,’ and then turn around and have someone like Ray Charles record the song, you’re really on to something. And that’s been pretty much a standard with all of those big songs that he wrote that he wrote that could be recorded by anyone and sound great. I mean, you’ve got the Patsy Cline version of ‘Sweet Dreams’ and Faron Young did a great version. ‘Oh Lonesome Me’ is another one that’s been covered by everyone from him to Neil Young. He was just an incredible songwriter that said a lot in a very simple way. ●
- – Mandy Barnett (to Ben Foster) on the legacy of Don Gibson.
She still wakes me up at 2 in the morning. She’s like a drunk mistress. She shows up when you least expect it and never sticks around. She sleeps with my friends, and I have issues with that because I’m a jealous kind of guy. “Why couldn’t she have brought that Bruce Springsteen song to me? Why did he get to get it?” (laughs) ●
- – Radney Foster on the muse.
We worked with our producer and everyone at the label in the beginning, and they just said, “We don’t really have enough time for you to get together and write songs. We want to record this record in a month.” So we just started pooling all these covers that we were drawn to, and from there, they kind of developed the look that would match that. I don’t want to say we were forced. ●
- – Lydia Rogers on that strangely out-of-time first Secret Sisters album. Their follow-up, which includes many originals and more contemporary touches, is Put Your Needle Down.
Miranda is obviously one of my best friends in the world. But I’ve been a fan of her and her music before we were even friends. I remember actually voting for her when she was on Nashville Star. And then just thinking there was something real when I got her first record and listened to those songs. A lot of those songs, she wrote by herself, and I remind her still to this day there’s not many people that can write songs like that and then sing them like she does it. ●
- – Ashley Monroe on Miranda Lambert.
I’m a terrible cowriter. [...] I have attempted to do that kind of thing in Nashville, which really is the way people do things now, writing tons of songs. And I’m not good at it at all. And I don’t really like it, honestly. … It’s such a weird thing to sit there and throw things out and say, ‘I like that,’ and say, ‘I don’t like that.’ So we really just … you know, I don’t wake up in the morning just saying, ‘Let’s get together and write a song, Kelly.’ We always have stuff better to do than that. ●
- – Bruce Robison. From a lengthy Michael Bialas profile in the Huffington Post.
It was a real gift to be placed in a company like that with a team like that that are doing as much as they can to help you. But on the other hand, I didn’t really fit. Like a square trying to get in that circle. So it was a challenge. (laughs) I really wasn’t cut out for the kind of stuff that they needed me to be doing. It was very hard for me. I wasn’t a Nashville superstar. I wasn’t able to do interviews without almost breaking into tears because of my social phobia. So it was hard but it was also extremely fun. I have great memories of that time. ●
- – Same article as above. Kelly Willis on her days on MCA in the ’90s.
“And along the way, I felt like it was my duty, whether people wanted to hear what I had to say about the Contras or nukes or not, that it was my responsibility to speak up, and if I didn’t live up to it I wouldn’t be doing what God wanted me to do. A lot of people probably think I’m a Marxist or something,” he says, laughing. “Hell, I’m not even a good Democrat. I don’t much care for politics. It’s about doing what you think is right.” ●
- – Kris Kristofferson, in an excellent Esquire profile by Turk Pipkin.
He’s the great artist of our lifetime. You and I will never meet another artist like him. Willie will be the last to go. I’m not sure he’s meant to die, ever. ●
- – Kristofferson on Willie Nelson.
Singing with him was the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life because we both phrase differently. And you would think though that because we are both so unusual in our style, that we would just really blend. I mean it worked me to death! Now he’d already put his vocal down, and so I was trying to sing to it. I called him up and said, ‘Willie, you should have sent me a sack of dope if you thought I was gonna keep up with you!’ ●
- – Dolly Parton on singing with Willie on “From Here to the Moon and Back.”
There’s no one telling us what to do, or more importantly what not to do. Let’s just cut a live record with three microphones in four days and talk about lizards and aliens. If I had taken that idea to even an independent label, I don’t see a label out there that would’ve said, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds great. We know how to market this.’ ●
- – Sturgill Simpson on the liberation of going it alone.
I don’t know what [industry people were at my Station Inn show] for – they certainly aren’t offering any deals. They’re just thinking, ‘How can I get on board with this. What can this guy do for us.’ It’s the land of opportunists. I hate to sound negative about it, but there’s a lot of people that I probably met eight times last year after ‘High Top Mountain’ came out, and every time I met them, I had to remind them who I was and what my name was. Now I see them and they are all chummy chum. That puts a little sideways grin on my face, I have to admit. But that’s part of the game and fortunately I’m not really interested in the game. ●
- – Sturgill Simpson again.
I think if you were to ask Waylon Jennings if I were an outlaw, he’d probably laugh and be like, ‘Well, actually, yeah. She does smoke plenty of weed and drinks plenty of whiskey.’ I can’t think of a new word to tell you what I do. I make country music that sounds old but feels new. ●
- – Nikki Lane plays the dangerous game of guessing what deceased legends would say.
All I really know is what I see in the news, and the last thing I saw in the news was those guys gave $4 million to the Vanderbilt Hospital to refurbish an entire wing, so how can you sit and talk (expletive) about that, you know? Finding the positives in things has really been my main focus this year. ●
- – Sturgill Simpson on an interviewer trying to get him to hate on Rascal Flatts.
We’re in a little bit of an era — there are some beautiful girls and I’m not saying they’re not talented, but they’re being minimized. They’re trying to make them two-dimensional. ●
- – Pam Tillis on country’s woman problem. By the time you read this, you can probably find the Underwood-Lambert performance of “Something Bad” from the Billboard Music Awards on YouTube and see how many dimensions you think are represented.