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I’m not opposed to country music. Just these days, the scene, it’s like a f**kin’ Budweiser commercial — just how it’s all marketed and all of that shit, and some of the stuff they’re singing about. ●
– – Ryan Bingham on country.
But, when I moved to Nashville, I eventually realized that I didn’t fit the typical mold. I favored the rootsier stuff with honest lyrics from the heart. The skills of the players in Nashville and the craft of making music is the best there. But in Texas, whether it’s rock or country, there’s a B.S. detector that most Nashville artists can’t escape from. It has to be real here. So I shoot for the best of both worlds. ●
– – Zane Williams in conversation with Kelly Dearmore.
All my life, just about every song I’ve ever written, regardless of how big a loss it’s about, I always put some hope in there. You know, it’s never a completely dismal, downward-spiraling situation. There’s always a key in there somewhere — “I can make it if” or “I’ll be alright when” or “ain’t no big deal.” I think it’s important to leave a way out or at least hope for a way out. And that’s where you can add the sass, you know? ●
– – Delbert McClinton to Jewly Hight.
Simplicity doesn’t need to be greased. It’s just so simple it slides right in there. It’s a good thing to do, because dumbasses like myself can understand. The smart people gonna get it anyway. So you don’t have to worry about them, and they appreciate it too, because it’s different from what they’re used to. ●
– – Billy Joe Shaver on songwriting.
And I got home and it just hit me that I have two girls and a wife and a house note and I’m calling myself a songwriter but nobody is paying me to do it, and I just charged my groceries. I said (to my wife), “What if this music business is just a constant bitter struggle?” To my great amazement, she said, “Are we still together?” I said, “Of course.” She said, “Then, I’m good. Hear me when I say this, money doesn’t matter to me.” I couldn’t have done it without someone like that. ●
– – Rivers Rutherford (“When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You,” “Smoke Rings in the Dark”) on making it through the early years in Nashville.
Lately, it’s funny because I almost need to be depressed sometimes to get good material. So I’m like, ‘Goddamn it, I’m in love right now.’ It’s hard to write when you’re really happy, so I’ll ask a co-writer, ‘Please tell me about the terrible parts of your relationship.’ ●
– – If writing with Kacey Musgraves, expect to have all your unhappiness mined for song material.
I think it was cathartic to be able get that out, and I feel like everyone has kinda written a life for me — what they think it should be or what’s going to sell a magazine that week, no matter if it’s truth or not, for four and a-half years. This is the truth. People have projected what they think I feel or what they think I should do or shouldn’t have done, what my intentions are. They’ve projected all of that on to me for a long time. These are my feelings. And I’ve been very quiet about it, and it came out through my music. ●
– – LeAnn Rimes on Spitfire.
Yet, the “Country” Music Television awards show allowed only a “by the way” mention of Jones’ death and legacy. Incongruously, they chose alternative music group the Mavericks to perform their short version of George’s “The Race Is On.” ●
– – Naomi Judd takes the CMT Music Awards to task for not giving George Jones his due, and apparently reveals an ignorance of and/or aversion to ‘alternative music group’ The Mavericks.
I just stand there at the microphone, play the guitar and sing, and do what I’m there to do. I’m not there to aerobicize. I’m not there to make a spectacle of myself. I’m there to deliver the songs in a live format as close to the recorded format as I can get them. And then that’s my job for the evening. My job is not to run an aerobics class. ●
– – Aaron Lewis keeps it simple onstage.
Q: Do you think that there are any outlaws left in country music?
A: Today, yes, there are innovators coming in. I really think the world of Miranda Lambert because she’s stuck to her Texas roots and done what she needed to do. I really like her. There’s talent out there. ●
– – Jessi Colter.
My dad’s the biggest Rolling Stones fan. And I like Poison, and all the rap and hip-hop that was floating around my junior high school. That’s why I can’t just do a straight country song. ●
– – Thomas Rhett, son of a Peach Picker.
We have nothing against such genre-bending collaborations, but at some point, you can’t help but catch a whiff of the yearning to be accepted by the “cool” kids. It’s as if country doesn’t believe it can stand on its own. When in fact, the opposite is true: It’s at its best when it stops worrying about impressing everyone. ●
– – Country Weekly’s Joseph Hudak wonders “Why Was Lenny Kravitz at CMA Fest?”
As far as backlash goes, the reaction has been surprisingly positive, and when I sing it live people really like it and they really listen to the lyrics. Even older people that I wouldn’t think would be into it get a laugh out of it. I think even if you don’t agree with everything I’m saying, as a human, hopefully you can just recognize that people should be able to do what they want to do and love who they want to love. ●
– – Kacey Musgraves on “Follow Your Arrow.”
I really believe both at country radio and in the fanbase that everybody is wrapping their heads more around the fact that it’s an American format. As pop radio gets more beat-driven and less organic, country radio is really the last rock ’n’ roll frontier. I truly believe that if [Tom] Petty and [Bruce] Springsteen came out today they would likely be on country radio, because that’s really the only umbrella that will protect, if you will, the songwriter and true story songs. So I think there are some folks that are really sensitive about remaining really traditional in country, but at the same time there are so many things outside of that in our format that are working: You’ve got your pop country, folk country, rock country. ●
– – Kimberly Perry (The Band Perry) on the expansion of country.
I still wear that redneck woman badge around. I came out and said, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be yourself.’ It’s not up to the rest of the world to fit you into this image of what they think you should be. ●
– – Gretchen Wilson on, er… pigeonholing herself?
I want to put a Johnny Cash puppet in my office, so when someone asks me a difficult question, Johnny can answer. Who’s going to argue with him? ●
– – Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Director and Chief Executive Officer Kyle Young. (From a conversation with Peter Cooper, but every bit as good out of context.)