Quotable Country – 06/14/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

There are guys out there who may start out with a less than perfect project, but they’re given the benefit of the doubt that they may grow into the artist that one day may help to carry on the genre.
It’d be really hard right now for a female to break through just on hit songs. There are hit songs available, but I think [women] have to have a real point of view. I’ve heard so many people say with a good female song, ‘yeah, that’s good and she’s pretty, but who is she?’ They don’t do the same to guys — they’re just like, ‘well that’s a hit song, he’s a good looking guy, let’s go.’
— Shane McAnally, quoted in Elias Leight’s Billboard.biz investigation of “What Happened to Women In Country?” Unusually good reading.

There’s a little bit of fear in writing for women. Guys say to me, ‘this sounds like a woman’s song,’ and that immediately decreases our chances of getting it cut. Everybody plays the odds — it’s a business.
— Gerry House on the same issue from the songwriting side of things.

[Label executives will say], ‘We need an uptempo for summer, and it needs to be this long.’ It’s like, ‘What happened to just a good song?’ I don’t remember the last time I thought, ‘I would love to hear an uptempo right now.’?
— Kacey Musgraves to Rolling Stone.

They just pulled that one off the f**king radio… whatever that means. Maybe they don’t like biscuits.
— Kacey Musgraves to crowd at Bonnaroo.

Give it up one more time for the motherf**kers who ain’t here with us, because they should be.
— Sturgill Simpson, from the stage at Bonnaroo.

They were a couple of waltzes that didn’t make the last record. This time, Drew [Kennedy] encouraged me to include them. He said that you can’t ever have too many waltzes and that’s music to my ears because that’s what I’m most comfortable in singing and writing. It’s just comfortable for me to sing with the meter. It’s my internal rhythm. I am a waltz.
— Courtney Patton (to Ken Morton Jr.) on So This Is Life.

I don’t want to be chasing things. Some people enjoy that game, but I enjoy sitting down in my living room and playing and singing. I get a certain satisfaction just from that. And I enjoy music. And I wanted to do whatever the hell I wanted to do, basically. Those are the kinds of things when we were making this record. It really has been starting completely over in many ways. But sometimes that’s the most fun an artist has. It’s very exciting.
— Lee Ann Womack on The Way I’m Livin’.

Keith’s hit [“As Good As I Once Was”] was a bawdy modern take on an old country theme, what Ernest Tubb and Red Foley summarized in a midcentury hit as being “Too Old to Cut the Mustard” anymore. The pair followed that duet with another getting-up-there novelty, “Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age.” Tubb and Foley were then thirty-eight and forty-one, respectively, the same age, more or less, as many of today’s biggest country bro’s. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton are each about to turn thirty-nine; Eric Church and Jason Aldean are thirty-eight; even Brian Kelley, of Florida Georgia Line, will be thirty before this summer’s final keg is tapped. Bro Country’s biggest stars are hardly kids anymore, but they play kids on the radio.
— Writing for The New Yorker, David Cantwell took the release of Django and Jimmie as an opportunity to consider country’s historic – but, lately, fading – place as domain of adult preoccupations and perspectives.

We spent a lot of money making [Kill the Lights], which will really make it no better or worse.
It’s country-er than Crash My Party. ‘Kick the Dust Up’ is a big ol’ fun stadium, uptempo [song], but after that we have some neat stuff, with a lot of depth. Are there songs that show more maturity? Certainly. Are there songs that don’t? Certainly.
— Luke Bryan knows what he’s doing. Not sure if that makes it better or worse.

If you feel down and you write that down, most of the time it is going to be a country song.
— Billy Joe Shaver to The New York Times.

country music is going down the tubes. with more and more country artists publicly supporting the sexual anarchy we see in America today, artists glorifying drug use and so called ‘gay marriage’, the traditional family values that country music has been known for has almost completely disappeared. Many now publicly support obama so you know that the patriotic support of our troops is just pandering. shame on country music. I pray they wake up and return as a voice for sanity and faith based family values.
— Comment on NewsBusters site.

There’s still an aspect of mutual obligation between artist and fan that is enacted at CMA Fest that strikes me as pretty unique. … I mean you have devotees in lots of other genres, but you don’t have the performed obligation of the industry to the fan in the same way, I don’t think, in any other genre.
— Diane Pecknold on CMA Music Fest, which wrapped up this weekend.

I sell coconuts on the side.
— Billy Currington, part-time coconut salesman.

He’s one of the best country singers around.
— Tim McGraw on Tracy Lawrence.

Q: What’s the difference between rock and country at this point?
A: Country songs really spell out what’s on a guy’s mind in no uncertain terms. Rock & roll can be a little more aloof. But country is changing. Jaren Johnston and the Cadillac Three and Florida Georgia Line are proving that you can go any which way. Modern country might add a little a cappella or raps or heavier beats. God knows Brad Paisley plays guitar like a motherf**ker. I think country is the new rock & roll — everyone is trying to stretch out.
— Steven Tyler.

I’m not a tomato. I’m a hard-working, sophisticated woman. My mama didn’t burn her bra for nothing. I’m here to stay.
— The indefatigable Angaleena Presley.

Somebody asked me the other day, ‘Where do you go to church?’ I said, ‘The Ryman.’ I love how historically it has been inclusive of all things — black, white, music, whatever it is. Louis Armstrong played here, B.B. King played here, (Italian tenor Enrico) Caruso and the Fisk Jubilee Singers sang here. It is everything and everybody. . . To me, the point of life is that everybody is welcome.
— Vince Gill.

Depends on who it is. To be perfectly honest, I think we’ve had some good influence and some bad influence.
— Don Henley on how he feels about the Eagles influence in modern country.

I wish more new country artists would reach back to some of these greats that are here in Nashville, engage them and make music with them. I wrote ‘Shuttin’ Detroit Down’ with John Anderson. All of this timeless talent is sitting right there, I think the younger artists need to tap into what they have to offer.
— John Rich.

Who the f**k is Brandy Clark? It’s a good question, but it’s not one 12 Stories is interested in answering. “Get High” is one of a handful of songs on the album written in the third person, a point-of-view that makes explicit the distinction between Clark the singer-songwriter and the protagonists to whom she gives voice. This line, so often and easily blurred in music, is drawn with thick ink in the album’s first-person ballads—“What’ll Keep Me Out of Heaven,” “In Some Corner,” and the slow-burning tearjerker “Just Like Him”—all of which have male love interests. Her characters are often straight; they are younger or older, married or divorced, mothers or murderous (not that the two are mutually exclusive, as Clark would be the first to point out). What they share, however, is their author’s attention, which remains flecked with pathos and free of judgment as she brings them—their desires, their problems, their flaws—to full-blooded life in three-and-a-half minutes.
— Mairead Small Staid for Jezebel, on her way to anointing Clark “the best storyteller in country music.”

Drunken driving, Dover Farms Drive: On June 7, police noticed a speeding black Ford 150 on Royalton Road. While talking to the Strongsville driver, who appeared drunk and was wearing a hat that read “Sun’s Out, Guns Out,” the officer smelled booze.
When told he was speeding, the man said, “You got me.” He said he was on the way home from the Kenny Chesney concert. Actually, it was the Dierks Bentley show at Blossom Music Center. The driver, who was slurring his words, admitted to drinking earlier in the night.
— Look alive, country headliners. If this guy’s your target demographic, maybe reconsider.

I enjoy the possibilities of writing songs. The possibilities of finding something you’ve never found on the guitar or singing, or a turn on words that you hadn’t thought of before. The great thing about songwriting is that you have that possibility every time you sit down. … When you get in that and you find the place where you just lose yourself in that, to me it’s better than any drug or getting drunk or anything, it’s good.
— Chris Stapleton, song junkie.

Let’s make no mistake, I’ve always had both feet in Nashville, so this is not really much of a change for me. My living has been made as a songwriter, and the music I’ve played has originated there financially and otherwise. The music I’ve made as a songwriter has allowed me to play these other artistic ventures, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll, so this is no different, even if it seems like I’m putting all the eggs in one basket. This is no different to me, really.
Besides, I’m not sure that country music needs ‘saving’ or anything like that. People tend to want to say things, but I don’t know how to respond to that at all. It’s a record, and hopefully we made a good one.
— Sorry, Chris Stapleton can’t be your outlaw.

It means having done a really good job at something: that you were fully committed to something, and you did it well. I don’t define success with a monetary value. I define it as feeling fulfilled and being authentic and connecting with others.
— Laura Bell Bundy on success.

Every day in the country music industry as an artist it’s a cold day in the locker room, and everyone is looking at each other and sizing each other up. It’s true, we’re all insecure or we wouldn’t be doing this.
— Charlie Worsham, with characteristic frankness.

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  1. CraigR. says

    I just wanted to comment on the lack of women in country music. And I will use Dolly Parton as an example. I am a huge admirer of Dolly. Not only do I think she has one of the best recorded voices of all time, but I also think her music is equal to The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, all the great R&B writers, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, and Aaron Copland. When the dust of music settles she will be one of the few stand outs. She is smart, witty, direct, and authentic. When I hear her sing it hits me in the same comfort stop that I reserve for Nat King Cole singing Christmas music. It feels like I am related to the music. In fact country music is part of my bloodline, my family. So when I hear and see country once again putting women in the back of the bus, I can only think that country music doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground.

    How can you sell a product to women- and let’s face it the handsome, bro country singer is a product- but then turn around and say their voice is not important enough to be heard. That is an insult comparable to buying a woman roses, and then slapping her down when she thanks you. And that is what country music is guilty of: domestic musical abuse. And what is painfully sad is that the females who love Luke, FGL, and Brantley don’t seem to give a damn that they are being used on so many degrading levels. And part of the reason for that is because women in country music use to remind females of their equality, strength, and courage. Now Jason Aldean reminds them that the only way for them to be useful is by what they wear and how they please a man- which is just man-child bs. If country music stopped raping- yes raping- their fans for cash on the barrelhead, and started respecting them as a part of the family then we would have our genre back. As it is now it is like a missing child who we hope is still alive and will return to us someday.

  2. the pistolero says

    I think country is the new rock & roll

    Everybody says this as if it was a good thing, or at least a neutral thing, and I have yet to figure out why.

      • the pistolero says

        Oh, I absolutely agree. It’s like, hey, you know why actual rock and roll isn’t really a thing anymore? Because it was more or less redefined out of existence as “music made by white people” much like Tyler and others are trying to redefine country as the ‘new’ rock and roll.

        Speaking of all this business, it’s worth asking why you see the likes of Steven Tyler and Bret Michaels “going country” as opposed to, say, Rob Halford or Tom Araya….

        • Erik North says

          The real problem is that when Tyler refers to country as the “new rock and roll”, the rock he’s referring to is only a form of the kind of arena rock that he and his band Aerosmith were the chief culprits in developing during the 70s, 80s, and 90s…with just a smattering of country instrumentation. I don’t think he has a single clue about what REAL country music is.

  3. Sabra says

    I pray they wake up and return as a voice for sanity and faith based family values.

    Having grown up listening to country music, I must presume “faith-based family values” is a fancy phrase for drinking and cheating. To be fair, I’m not sure exactly what Bob Wills was singing about most of the time, but I do recall reading he had a daughter who met him exactly once. And we all know Hank Williams died of a little too much holy water.

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