Quotable Country – 06/24/12 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

Until we stop getting ratings, press coverage and overall huge favorability, I don’t think we’re going to [change]. I don’t think it’s a valid criticism because I don’t think anybody lives in a world where they’re not affected by forces beyond country music. Who are these people who keep the lists of people who qualify as country? Any deviation and they’re going to post an angry message about it? There’s no other sector of the entertainment business where you see that kind of rigidity. It’s such a tiresome argument.
- – From Country Aircheck, Issue 299. CMT president Brian Philips on gripes about out-of-genre stars showing up on the network’s country awards show.

The Eagles are probably as responsible for influencing country’s current generation as any country artist ever has been. And in some ways, they were every bit a country act.
- – Brad Paisley.

You can’t get up there now and do what we do without a little bit of ego, without a little bit of this edge that you have. And you gotta know deep down in your heart and soul that you can do that and that you’re good at it to do it at this level. But I’m not that person away from there. I leave that guy up there, you know? And I’m looking forward to saying hi to that guy again. I like that guy.
- – Kenny Chesney on performing.

When I got in this business, our relationship kind of skyrocketed, because I had a lot of questions and he had a lot of answers. So now we probably talk three to four times a day. And he’s so proud — he’s a little bit too proud. [laughs] But it’s really good having somebody on your team like that that’s been through the trenches and on the mountaintops.
- – Yes, I’d say it does present a slight advantage. Thomas Rhett on being the son of Rhett Akins.

I’m not condoning [reality TV] at all, but I don’t see myself being a part of anything like that really.
- – Kenny Chesney, unaware of the difference between ‘condoning’ and ‘condemning.’

The fans are always the No. 1 reason for doing any show. Performing is a way to thank the fans who have been dedicated followers to your music and for the years of support.
- – John Michael Montgomery’s motives in allowing people to pay money to watch him perform are purely philanthropic.

He’s always been very outspoken, he’s always stuck to his guns at times when it wasn’t the most popular thing. I respect him for all those things. At this day and time, so many people are scared to say anything or stand for anything just because they’re worried about the repercussions. You get a lot of artists out there who you don’t really know where they are or where they stand.
- – Eric Church on Toby Keith… and, of course, himself. Which always seems to be the case.

And people that are fans of my first record may be like, ‘Oh, this one isn’t as twangy.’ Well, neither is my band. That’s not the kind of music I like doing anymore. I have a lap steel in my band now, not just a steel guitar. So it makes it more rockin’. It’s more fun to sing.
- – Sunny Sweeney isn’t as country as she once was.

I feel more comfortable doing this solo than I did with Brooks and Dunn. That’s not to diminish anything I did. This just feels more natural. Whether it’s more exciting or entertaining is another issue.
- – Ronnie Dunn on life as a solo artist.

So I recorded the song and presented it to the label and they didn’t like it. I sent it around to a couple of people that I trusted within the Nashville system to see what they thought about it. One is friend that’s a songwriter who said, “You’ve got to put this out quick.” The other person was the director of programming at CMT, Jay Frank. He listened to it and said, “Dude, someone needed to say it and stir some shit up around here. That’s what you’re doing with this.”
- – Per Shooter Jennings, CMT was instrumental in bringing “Outlaw You” to market.

The best thing about being a country music artist is looking out and seeing people just like me.
- – “By which I mean well-to-do white people who own second homes in Malibu,” explained Brad Paisley.

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About C.M. Wilcox

A freelance writer and humorist with an abiding love of country music, C.M. Wilcox's cutting, clear-eyed take on the genre has drawn the attention of Country Weekly, The Washington Post, and The Tennessean in the years since this site began. C.M. lives near Sacramento and can be reached by email at CMW (at) countrycalifornia.com.

Things People Are Saying

  1. Brocephus says:

    Eric Church, on the other hand, stands for being a badass.

    So brave, Mr. Church, so brave.

  2. ChurchsChicken says:

    Eric Church is so obnoxious. The non-quoted lines are even douchier than the quoted ones. He even says, ” Toby’s always been a guy who you know where he is, and by and large I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. We’ve never shied away musically, or from telling you what we think. And I think that’s needed.”

    It seems that Church never misses an opportunity to put down other artists (sometimes unnamed artists) and to praise himself for how “real” or “authentic” or “badass” or whatever he is. Church can make some good music but its hard to root for a guy who is so obnoxious so often.

  3. The Eagles are probably as responsible for influencing country’s current generation as any country artist ever has been. And in some ways, they were every bit a country act.

    I’ve probably said this here before, but I’ll say it again.

    Just about every time Brad Paisley opens his mouth as of late I lose a little more respect for him, and this sort of thing is why. To be fair, he’s not the only one who only focuses on what seems like an unfairly small part of the Eagles’ catalog in trying to justify them as “country.” But really? The Eagles only did that whole country-rock thing for a couple of albums and then they tried to get away from that — unless, of course, Brad’s trying to say that “One Of these Nights” and “Hotel California” are country, in which case he’s even more clueless than I thought he was. But one might say he’s completely bereft of a clue anyway because he apparently thinks Don Henley’s influence on country is a good thing. Brad Paisley apparently has no idea that even Henley himself thinks the Eagles’ influence on country was a bad thing.

  4. lily says:

    Thanks for that that Sunny Sweany commen. I will forgo her performance at the Rapid City County Fair. I’ve been looking forward to a country show not a rock show.

    • C.M. Wilcox says:

      While it’s an interesting comment, I don’t know if I’d take it that far. Notice that her version of de-twanging is trading one kind of steel guitar for another. Still pretty darn country. And she’s a good entertainer, so I can’t recommend missing one of her shows.

      • Ben says:

        I’ll be seeing Sunny on the Country Throwdown tour in about a week or so, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ll take lap steel or pedal steel – not picky at all ;)

  5. And as for this:

    I don’t think anybody lives in a world where they’re not affected by forces beyond country music.

    That’s a really nice straw man there. It’s not that anyone thinks we live in a world in which country fans aren’t affected by other genres. It’s that the people talking negatively about this are sick and tired of the country music establishment being ashamed of the genre to the point that they don’t even think the genre’s own stars can carry it. Journey singing with Rascal Flatts and Alan Jackson reduced to being a fracking award presenter? No wonder mainstream country music is in such sorry shape.

    • C.M. Wilcox says:

      Well said!

    • ChurchsChicken says:

      I agree that its a straw man argument, but I think those traditionalist fans or purist fans or whatever the right word is also have a weak argument.

      In this context, the only strong argument is ratings – namely attracting an audience composed of a demographic that advertisers want to sell to. That’s what the CMT dude is getting at I assume, though he’s not quite as blunt about it. For better or worse, arguments about history of the genre, respect for its own stars, et cetera, just seem weak compared to arguments about money/rating sin the context of a commercialized awards program. Those arguments do have more force in other contexts of course, such as Internet blogs!

      I think there is another flaw with the traditionalist arguments: I suspect (though don’t know) that traditionalists wouldn’t be interested in watching the CMT show even if there was no Journey. Why? Because Journey would not be replaced by a Randy Travis or Alan Jackson performance, or even an Easton Corbin performance. He’d be replaced by Lady Antebellum, a Rascal Flatts w/o Journey, or Brantley Gilbert, or whatever. Given that I can’t see how the CMT program would appeal to traditionalists anyway, and thus I really don’t see why CMT should attempt to court viewers who presumably wouldn’t watch regardless. I could be all wrong, I’m just speculating.

      • Journey would not be replaced by a Randy Travis or Alan Jackson performance, or even an Easton Corbin performance.

        You make good points, ChurchsChicken, but such is just more of the same, i.e., TPTB being ashamed of the genre. Putting more pop-country crap on display is just not quite as blatant.

        As for ratings, I can see the point there as well, but it’s as if they’re trying to market to people who don’t like country music at the expense of those who do. And that strikes me as exactly what has gotten mainstream country into the sorry shape it’s in.

    • Ben says:

      My thoughts as well, more or less. I don’t take issue with non-country entertainers appearing at country award shows by default – my issue is with the ridiculous extremes to which the programs have taken it. I wouldn’t mind a Journey performance nearly as much if there were veteran country artists making appearances along with them. A pipe dream it may be, but it’s one worth stating nonetheless.

  6. Trailer says:

    Brian Phillips, you jackass, when do you think you’ll see a country music star on the BET Awards???? When will Jason Aldean, no matter the guitar riffs in his music, appear on the Revolver Metal Awards???? Idiot.

  7. Cee says:

    Where did Don Henley say the Eagles’ influence on country music wasn’t a good thing? Don has been a huge influence on me as a musician since I was a kid, I’m curious what he said. I don’t believe the Eagles were ever country…

    • Back in 2002, Henley said this to the Los Angeles Times:

      “It’s a constant source of irritation to me that great country artists like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and George Jones don’t get airplay on a great many country stations today…What they call ‘young country,’ unfortunately, is an offshoot of what we used to do. It’s our fault. I’m so sorry. I apologize to
      the entire universe.”

  8. Oh, and I totally missed that Eric Church interview when it was posted here…

    I have to ask, did Eric Church ever really listen to country music when he was growing up, or was he all about the Springsteen, AC/DC and (allegedly) Metallica?

    Seriously, it seems that in every single interview of him that I have read or seen snippets from, Church is always talking about ’80s rock acts. Nowhere have I seen him talk about all the great records from people like Alan Jackson in the ’90s or the neo-traditionalist movement of the ’80s. (And even stalwarts like Waylon, Willie and George Jones were still cranking out great music then.) It’s always about classic rock and trying to justify its influence on modern mainstream country.

    And Metallica. Don’t get me started.i am a huge fan of James Hetfield and the boys, but it seems like every single act out there looking for some sort of street cred or wanting to come off as a badass mentions Metallica. “Hardest band in the history of heavy metal”? Dead giveaway right there, the only Metallica album Church has in his collection is the same one everyone else has, their self-titled 15-times-platinum “black album.” And he’s likely never heard of Megadeth, Anthrax or Iron Maiden. Bet on it.

    Another thing I thought was funny in this particular interview was how he talked about how he never shied away from saying what he thought. Granted, that is admirable in and of itself — but, to cite a better example, George Strait always made it pretty clear where he stood musically and he’s arguably the most reticent man on the face of the earth. He let his music do the talking. And the same could very well be said for Alan Jackson, even if he might grant more interviews than Strait.

    As for the answer to my question, I am left to believe that Eric Church never was really a big country fan. I am left to believe that he just saw country as the fastest way to stardom, saw where it was going and his frustrated-’80s-rocker-born-20-years-too-late arse ran with it.

    “He’s gone country, ohhh, back to his roots…”

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