Quotable Country – 05/28/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

If I could pull this job off without opening my heart and being vulnerable all the goddamn time, I would.
– – Todd Snider on songwriting.

You’re talking to a guy who still writes songs with a pencil and a piece of paper. I sit in the room with these kids that bring their smartphones and their iPads and all this stuff. It’s just always seemed to me that you’re not writing a song if you’re not using a pencil and an eraser. Especially the eraser. I carry a lot more erasers than I do pencils.
– – Bill Anderson on songwriting (and song-erasing).

Sometimes people will say, ‘You’re not country,’ and I know what that means, because they can’t be talking about the music. But when somebody says to leave country music to the white folks, that is unbelievable to me . . . But that’s life. That’s something that I’m going to have to deal with the rest of my career, because I’m a black guy in country music and there are people who don’t like that. But it’s not going to make me quit.
– – Fun Fact: If you say Darius Rucker isn’t country enough, you are a racist. Because you couldn’t possibly be referring to the style or content of his music.

It’s so polarizing. Ninety percent of the people love it, and then there’s ten percent of people who are just angry at me for cutting it. I’m like, ‘Dude, it’s a song.’ I guess they’re angry because I took their little secret away.
– – Darius Rucker on getting flak for “Wagon Wheel.” Maybe I’m off-base here, but I thought the objection was that the song was already too glaringly obvious and hackneyed of a cover song choice, not that any exclusive group of 4 million frat kids wanted to claim it as belonging only to them.

I was aware that her winning the Oscar would put a lot of pressure on me. She hit a high standard, so I knew I had to hit at least as high a standard because I would be compared to that. But I like that kind of pressure.
– – Jewel (in actress mode) on contending with Reese Witherspoon’s earlier portrayal of June Carter Cash.

Look, Nashville is a boys’ club of redneck conservative ideas. But they’re ready to embrace gay people. I never felt for one second that someone was judging me. Some people are like, ‘Oh, I love gay people’ in that ‘I have lots of black friends’ kind of way. It’s awkward, but you have to appreciate that they’re trying.
– – Nashville songwriter Shane McAnally, in a fine New York Times profile by Jody Rosen.

He never talked to me about it, but you can tell it’s there. You think about the years of frustration, the shit-hole gigs you played, the people who shot you down. All that stuff festers inside you until you’re out to prove something. ‘I told all you motherf**kers what I was gonna do. And now I’m gonna show you.’ I don’t blame him one bit.
– – Kip Moore on the chip on Eric Church’s shoulder. From an Eric Church profile in Playboy.

I know it seems odd, but when I grew up the greatest musician in the room should be the person with their name on the album. They should be the best person in the room by a mile. And nowadays on a lot of records they’re not the best person in the room. They have to be technically manipulated and everything, but there’s a lot more celebrity and PR manipulation to make them an artist. She’s the exact opposite of that. She actually runs the session. That’s how great musicians work.
– – Producer/engineer Justin Niebank on working with Sheryl Crow… and, by contrast, the way many other modern country albums are pieced together.

I want to have commercially successful records and all those things. But I just think that it’s important to write the songs that are inside and get those out and make room for other songs. And these songs were there.
I wish that more artists did it. Even a guy like Ted Nugent. I don’t agree with anything, pretty much, that he says. He’s a total wack job. He runs his mouth about all these things, but he’s still playing the same tired music that he’s played since 1974. If he’s truly such a believer in all of those things, I’d like to hear him put that in music.
– – Will Hoge on writing what he actually feels, even if it comes out as a largely uncommercial album of Modern American Protest Music.

I always try to do the right thing and be a stand-up guy. I can’t be responsible for someone’s vendetta. I have a career, I have a family. I feel like there’s a lot more ahead of me than behind me. I can’t let someone put a cloud over what I try to do.
– – Tim McGraw on ongoing struggles with Curb Records.

That’s what we’ve wanted to do from day one is have a sound that when people that haven’t heard us say, ‘Well, who is that? I need to know.’ It’s not, ‘Well, they sound like blah, blah blah,’ because that’s not going to work. So we wanted to be ahead of the curve and create music that’s fresh and create music that’s real.
– – Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley on getting ‘ahead of the curve’ by mixing the worst of modern country with the worst of hip-hop. Years after others started doing the same thing.

If we’re standing backstage before the show talking, we just walk out onstage and keep talking. That’s about as showbiz as it gets.
– – Lyle Lovett on acoustic shows with old pal Robert Earl Keen.

Corey Smith sings “Twenty-One” at his Grand Ole Opry debut:

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  1. says

    I generally can’t stand Corey Smith, but that’s a solid performance. I think the full band there dilutes the idiosyncrasies I don’t like about him.

  2. Sabra says

    The “leave country music to the white people” thing is real, and it doesn’t just come from white people. My best friend is black and people are constantly shocked that he’s a country music fan. Heck, I should know better and I’ve been surprised before to overhear a black woman singing along with a country song. It’s not a bad thing, but it is an unusual thing. Country music is seen as a racist genre, although it should not be a racist genre (probably because of the perception that it’s a redneck, right-wing thing), and so a black person willingly being part of that scene even as a fan is looked at oddly by a lot of people, black and white alike. To make it even stickier, I am certain there are people who don’t like Darius Rucker because he’s black rather than because he’s boring. Maybe after so long of “You can’t like that, you’re black!”, it gets hard to tell when people aren’t taking that tack.

  3. says

    Far be it from me to defend him, but to be fair to Rucker, he was referring to a specific tweet that told him to “leave country to the white folk.” Also, I never thought somebody as typically commercial as him would cover something like “Wagon Wheel.” So, it wasn’t an obvious choice to me.

  4. Dan M. says

    An especially meaty roundup here. Especially enjoyed the Rosen piece (I find I usually dig his writing) on MacAnally. I always thought “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and especially “Alone With You” were kind of cool for the exact reasons the article outlines, and how revelatory it is to discover they’re of the same pod as the awesome “Last Call” and “It Is What It Is.” Between this and what we know about Brandy Clark from this site’s sharp-eyed coverage, seems like the “Kacey collective” is approaching Pistol Annies levels of supergroupiness.

  5. says

    “So we wanted to be ahead of the curve and create music that’s fresh and create music that’s real.”

    Yet FGL’s very first single was about a guy picking up a girl…in the summer…as he was driving through the country…in a four-wheel-drive truck. Yeah, that’s totally original, fresh and real, right?

  6. CraigR. says

    I am a black man who loves country music. I get questioned about it constantly. But I also know my country music history and the influence of black people on country music. I never see it as redneck and right wing. I see some of the artists as right wing. And I see some of the artists selling ” whiteness” as a way of making money. As for Rucker his problem is his blandness. He has nothing to really say. And he lacks anything that moves the music forward.

    I am also gay and happy to see that songs that I like were written by a gay man. Now that is cool. A true voice trying to connect to everyone’s emotions through his own. That’s what country music really needs. And that is what I think country music is, or at least should be.

  7. says

    Craig, I think all music genres are beginning to gain acceptance outside of their stereotypical audiences. It really should be a matter of what sounds good to your ears, or what resonates with your brain or thinking. I think the hill that still needs to be climbed is the fact that African-Americans cannot look at country music and see, or hear themselves in the music, or at least that is the perception. I agree with you completely about Rucker’s blandness. In fact, this isn’t a problem that is Rucker’s alone. Most of the country musicians on the radio today have the same issue. Everything coming out of Nashville sounds the same. They have the same pop sound and same lyrics. Unfortunately it’s working and country music is selling like crazy, so there is probably no end in site.


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