Quotable Country – 06/08/14 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

She was sitting on the floor and her hair had streaks, a couple colors in it, and she had her nose ring and everything. And she was sitting there with her guitar open tuned, this neat tuning, and I thought, “Golly, if Matraca [Berg] and I had a baby it would be YOU!”
— Deana Carter on working with Kacey Musgraves. The duo co-wrote tracks 5 and 6 on Carter’s Southern Way of Life.

I think I am just figuring out the humorous side of myself. I attribute that mostly to my husband Blake. He is really funny and quick-witted. Being around that for the past nine years, well, it’s rubbed off a little I guess. I needed it to. I have a tendency to be cynical at times and take everything seriously. Thankfully I married someone just the opposite. This record has more humor than any of my others.
— Miranda Lambert (to NPR’s Ann Powers) on Blake’s influence on Platinum.

When I hear ’90s country, I feel happy. I feel like something takes me back to everything I grew up on and why I wanted to be a country singer in the first place. And it just puts me in this great mood. Even if you’re listening to [Doug Stone’s] “Better Off in a Pine Box,” somehow you’re in a good mood, you know?
— Miranda Lambert indulges in some ’90s nostalgia.

I remember having been in rehab a few weeks, and the CMAs happened while I was in there. I forgot they were on. That’s how much I had gotten into this recovery. I had gone to bed and I remember our night tech coming in and him saying, “You just won something. Male vocalist? CMAs or something?” And I was like, “Really?” And he said, “Yeah, off to bed,” and he shut the door. And I said to my roommate, “Hey, I just won Male Vocalist of the Year,” and he’s like, “That’s awesome.” I just lay there in the dark going, “How weird is this?”
— Keith Urban on being in rehab for his 2006 CMA Male Vocalist win.

For anybody to say this is the truth… nobody is going to know until you die. So unless you died and came back to life, it’s like Tompall said: ‘Maybe you should shut the f**k up.’ For me, the only thing that has ever brought me any answers or personal fulfillment was just letting go of anger and fear and a lot of insecurities. And finding someone in the world that recognizes all your faults and looks beyond that and still loves you. I think we can all use a little bit more of that. Not to sound all hippie and stoner-cliché about it, but f**k it, man. Just be nice. And someday we’ll find out. We all get our turn.
— Sturgill Simpson (to Rolling Stone Country’s Joseph Hudak) on keeping an open mind.

I’m too much of a musician to lay claim to what is and isn’t [country]. That’s the beauty of it. You have to look at a young person today and understand their influences were nothing like mine. I’m almost 60 years old. And so 50 years ago what taught me how to play and sing, it’s gone. It’s in our history and that’s great, and if you go find it and learn it, you’ll be better for it. But you take a young kid like Brett Eldredge or Kip Moore, guess who their mentors are? Tim McGraw and Toby Keith, and the biggest people from 15 years ago. So I’m not ever going to be critical of a young person that doesn’t know [country’s] history. I didn’t either.
— Vince Gill to Rolling Stone Country’s Joseph Hudak. Busy guy.

I had a really great conversation with Lee Ann Womack one time. She was trying so hard to do the music that really wasn’t her. She’s such a brilliant country singer. She said, “Well, I can’t get on the radio if I don’t.” I said, “Well, you might get on the radio a little bit, but you’re getting on the radio with something that is certainly not your heart. Go be what makes you great.”
— Vince Gill again. Same interview.

Q: Would you say that you came to town kind of chasing ghosts, having heard stories about the songwriting community back in Howard’s day?
A: Yeah, I think that’s a very good characterization. I came chasing ghosts, and I ended up in the arms of Darrell Scott and Gretchen Peters and Beth Nielsen Chapman and the folks that are bringing that rootedness to the heart, that rootedness to real people’s stories forward.
If Harlan were around today, they’d call him Americana, you know? Because it’s simple and it’s real, and it’s honest and it’s true.
— Mary Gauthier to Jewly Hight. Trouble and Love arrives this week.

If you’re listening to anything you don’t enjoy, listen to something else. We have greater quality, quantity and variety of country music available to us today in Nashville than anyone has ever had, anyplace, anywhere.
— Peter Cooper says: “State of Today’s Country Music? Sensational, Bro.”

Will the father of bro-country please stand up?
— Peter Cooper again, this time on the pre-bro history of country rapping and recitation.

My all-time favorite songwriter is John Prine. Probably everybody says that, but I love the way he doesn’t over-intellectualize anything. It’s always a mix of sadness with comedic aspects. His voice and everything about his music seems very down to earth. That’s how I am, I think.
— Zoe Muth to CMT Edge’s Brian T. Atkinson.

In picking songs for an album, you wanna make sure they’re fun.
— Joe Nichols says the big criterion for picking songs is fun-ness.

Taylor’s untouchable. She made country quote-unquote ‘cool.’ And she made it OK to talk about your problems. And be vulnerable. And talk s**t about your ex-boyfriend. That’s so fun! Everyone wants to do that.
— Lucy Hale on being inspired by Taylor Swift and also fun-ness.

I started off as a songwriter writing for other people in the industry, and I feel like country music is songwriters’ music, so for me country music is always dope to listen to.
— CMT Music Awards performer Jason Derulo says country music is dope to listen to, which I’m guessing is similar to fun-ness. Finally, we’ve made it.

I see very few examples of traditional country music on mainstream country radio, and it’s a sad loss to many of us. Mostly, I’m just a fan of well-written songs, and Americana music — whether it’s traditional country, bluegrass, folk or roots rock — it’s all song driven. That’s why it appeals to me.
— Radney Foster to The Bluegrass Situation. He forgot to talk about fun.

When I first got a record contract, [MCA Nashville executive] Bruce Hinton came in and said, ‘Are you getting everything you want? Is there anything you want?’ I said, ‘Yeah just give me some money and let me make a record.’ He said it doesn’t work that way.
— Gary Allan on learning to play the game.

The music these guys are writing, it stays country, but it gets a little not-country from time to time. It brings more people in. Country people are happy, and new fans are coming in.
— Luke Bryan, celebrating the songwriters of his past four #1 hits. (Thing you might not know because I didn’t until just now: Three of the four were co-written by Ashley Gorley.)

Get in where you fit in, and if you don’t like it, ignore it.
— Sturgill Simpson on refusing to talk smack about modern country.

Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack sing “Livin’ on Love” at CMT Music Awards. Huzzah!

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  1. the pistolero says

    Lot of good music in Nashville, eh? Guess those folks who aren’t in Nashville are just out of luck. I swear, the only place you’ll find more provincial media figures is in Washington D.C. or New York City.

    Once upon a time we could find great music on the radio all over the country instead of having to have the means to travel to Nashvegas ratholes to find it. What the hell happened to those days? And does Peter Cooper even care that they’re gone?

    • MH says

      Peter Cooper has stated in previous articles that traditional-leaning country music can be found all over the Internet.

      Stop putting your faith in the dying medium known as terrestrial radio and fire up your Mac.

      • the pistolero says

        This isn’t a problem just for me. It’s a problem for country music in general. If those other choices were as viable for everyone else, then why, exactly is there so much consternation about the trash on the FM dial?

      • Jack says

        I like Pete Cooper, but he’s wrong about this.

        “Hey, good music can be found on the internet, so why worry about the crap on the radio?” With all due respect, that’s an easy thing for a professional music writer to say. Not everybody has the time or resources to scour the internet looking for “alternative” music options. Not everybody knows where to look in the first place. This is America! Everybody (young, old, rich, poor, technologically adept or not) deserves to have a reasonable number of options when it comes to music. Americans used to have that just by turning on their radio dials. It’s a shame that those days are over, that’s all.

  2. Iamnikkiminaj says

    I think there is more good music on radio today than ever before, and I think there is a lot more variety today than ever before.

    Today I can listen to not just the typical FM top-40 country stations, but all kinds of other stations. I live nowhere near texas but I can easily hear radio stations that play texas country through my computer, something like XM, et cetera.

    When I was a kid, I could not listen to bluegrass on AM or FM radio. None of the stations near me played that. Today its easy for me to find it.

    I get it — a lot of what is played on the FM bro-country stations is utter garbage. Even as late as 1993 FM country radio stations were playing better music than today. Today’s big stars like Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, and Luke Bryan aren’t as good as early 1990s stalwarts like Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and George Strait. So I concede that top 40 country isn’t what it once was. But its so easy to find good music if you don’t limit yourself to the FM dial.

    • the pistolero says

      But why does it have to be only the FM dial that’s full of trash? No, I don’t limit myself to that — in fact, I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even listen to it anymore other than the classic country station — but I don’t see why good music has to be exclusive to those who can afford a decent Internet connection.

    • Jack says

      Edison Research shows that the majority of Americans who keep up with new music do so via AM / FM radio.


      For the moment, terrestrial radio still dictates what mainstream music culture is. To the vast majority of Americans, “country music,” is defined as the stuff that plays on FM radio. There’s no telling how much damage “bro-country” is doing to the long term reputation of the country genre.

      Technology may be in the process of changing, but either way, what is going to be lost is the shared experience of everyone hearing great songs on the radio at the same time. Unfortunate.

  3. andythedrifter says

    Joe Nichols has pretty much gone over to the dark side with his last couple albums, so that quote is no surprise. =/

  4. CraigR. says

    I am sorry I am writing this on the 11th of June- so late. First I love Vince Gill. To me he is country music. Second I glad that Miranda finds something redeeming in Blake Shelton. His music would not be a great place to start. Third many people do not have an internet connection. In Europe almost everyone does, but in many places in the country you have to go to a public library to find an internet connection. So Peter Cooper is wrong and misinformed. Who is Lucy Hale? If she thinks that Taylor Swift made it ” ok to talk about your problems” than she shouldn’t be singing country at all. Talk about obtuse. Finally Joe Nichols’ last great song was ” Brokenheartville”. He can pick out as many fun songs as he likes. He is as unimportant to country music as Lionel Richie.


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