Quotable Country – 06/29/14 Edition


Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

If I could just be a hair on her ass, I’d be happy.
— Miranda Lambert on Reba.

I still write plenty of sad story songs. It’s just that a lot of people don’t really care for that—it’s not commercial anymore. When you get ready to do an album, I try to think about what the public likes and what they will accept me singing. People don’t like to hear me sing a lot of sad stuff anymore. They say, “I don’t think of you like that!” I say, “Well, think of me as a songwriter and a singer.” You kind of try to base your albums on what the people want, what they expect, and what they can endure.
— Dolly Parton to Juli Thanki for M: Music & Musicians.

To me a good country song is a lot like bowling. It sets you up to knock you down. Each line is like a bowling pin, meticulously set up, one after the next, and then the tag line is your bowling ball. When it strikes, it bowls you over and is so satisfying.
— Jazz vocalist Jill Barber (speaking here to CMT Edge’s Craig Shelburne) seems to have a firmer grasp on country than half the country singers I see interviewed.

Every time he sings a song, he does something spectacular. The magic of Willie is his phrasing and his choice of notes. Nobody else on the planet does what he does. But you have to let him do it. I’ve seen people start trying to give him direction, and he’s apt to walk out the door, get on his bus and leave.
— Buddy Cannon on Willie Nelson, with whom he co-wrote more than half the songs on Band of Brothers… by text message. At 81, Willie is much hipper than any of us.

In that message, Bowen boasted to the worldwide sales team that Garth’s first album recently had topped 600,000 in sales barely a year after its release. He then gazed portentously into the camera and lowered his voice. In the same voice a SEC coach might promise a national championship, Bowen solemnly predicted No Fences would sell a million copies. Quite likely, some listeners gasped; others guffawed.
— Michael McCall for the Nashville Scene: “Twenty-five years later, the Class of 1989 still looms large.”

A normal person, if they find themselves in a position of turmoil or grief, they’ll say, ‘I need to get out of this as fast as I can.’ A writer will say, ‘How long can I stay in this until I get something good?’ And that’s a bullshit way to look at life.
— John Fullbright to CMT Edge’s Chris Parton.

He and I are also working on a duets record. A lot of people are excited about the old school stuff. He did “Man on a Mountain” with Patty [Loveless] and I love doing that one with him when we’re on the road. We also wrote one together on his last record called “We Just Might Miss Each Other.” Every time, we get such great feedback and people always say we should do a duets record. The more we heard it, the more we realized there’s such a niche for that right now. We want that old-school throwback George and Tammy, Conway and Loretta, and Dolly and Porter stuff. We want to do that in the next year or two so we’re trying to sit down and write more for that.
— Courtney Patton tells Engine 145′s Ken Morton Jr. that a duets record with husband Jason Eady is in the works. Having heard them tear up “Man on a Mountain” live, I assure you this is good news.

Rosen: When do you know that a song you’ve written is a Brandy Clark song?
Clark: Usually when no one else will cut it! [Laughter] It’s my job to cut the songs that other people are too scared to cut. Songs like “Take a Little Pill.” There are songs I’m hanging onto right now, because I’m working on another project. But most of the time, it just doesn’t work for anyone else. If a song is going to work for Miranda [Lambert], like “Mama’s Broken Heart,” I would have never cut that. If that works for her, it doesn’t work for me. We already have Miranda. I can’t compete with her!
— Brandy Clark, in a nice Rolling Stone feature that has her sitting down with her friends in the band Old Dominion for a chat.

Clark sings about an unexpected pregnancy, about a woman who went to Wal-Mart in her nightgown, the kind of stuff that would get gossips talking anywhere — but she feels as much for the talkers as she does their subjects. Her parade of everyday misfits feels observed instead of idealized: Rather than teach us life lessons, as they might in a Brad Paisley song, the folks here are just living, and Clark’s just asking us to notice them.
— From Alan Scherstuhl’s Village Voice review of Brandy Clark at New York City’s Highline Ballroom.

I have been publicly critical about the payment structures streaming services currently offer artists. For example, for an 18 month period, there were nearly 600,000 streams of my songs on a popular subscription site. I was paid $114.00 for those streams. I am not a lawyer or a politician or a policy wonk, and I couldn’t begin to parse the incredibly complex, outdated, pre-­‐Internet laws regarding licensing and copyrights but I CAN tell you that I see young musicians give up their dreams Every Single Day because they cannot make a living, they cannot survive doing the thing they most love, the thing they just might be on the planet to do.
— Rosanne Cash, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

You can never predict the results of your writing, what might happen with it, and so it’s best to just keep a steady flow of material out there. I wrote a record several years ago and titled it Country Super Hits Volume 1, thinking that the majority of the songs would get recorded by other people, and they haven’t yet, so . . . I guess it’s best I’ve just learned to do things without thinking of the results too much, and really just the process of writing and recording is my big thrill.
— Jim Lauderdale, whose new album I’m a Song arrives on Tuesday.

This ‘bro country,’ whatever it is, it definitely has this whole theme of party and tailgate and bonfire — I love all that stuff. I think it’s big right now because everybody wants to escape for a minute and think about the fun stuff, and not driving in traffic and going to work. But there is so much more you can sing about and say.
— Miranda Lambert plays nice.

‘I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),’ ‘Reckless’ — those are just two classic songs that literally just make you wanna take a ‘Cruise.’ [When] you think of country music, you think of Alabama.
— And when you talk about Alabama, you evidently have to find some way of simultaneously referring to and plugging your own song. Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley.

Miranda Lambert Takes Care of Her Face, Too
— Thanks for this crack reporting, Alison Bonaguro. I think we all assumed she didn’t.

It seems that pop country has stuck around a long time. We’ve got to be progressing – new sounds have to happen – but it’s not just this [pop] sound and nothing else. It just doesn’t seem [the industry] is giving the underdogs much of a chance.
— Hank Williams III.

“In defense of low-information voters, I knew one. Little half-breed Cherokee Indian — yes, that’s Cherokee Indian for you Florida State Seminoles and Washington Redskins.”
At that point, Gatlin paused to demonstrate Florida State’s tomahawk chop “war chant.”
“She was very wise, though,” he said. “She said if a child acts badly, if a child is naughty, slap the grandmother. Because, see, that means the grandmother didn’t teach mother, and the mother didn’t teach the child. By the way, that was my grandmother.”
— Larry Gatlin to Fox News. Remarkably, calling his own grandma a half-breed and seeming to advocate slapping senior citizens might be the least offensive part of his comments.

McCurdy isn’t exactly helping build a case for the authenticity of singing TV stars either. In this Nerdist podcast from February, she calls her stint as a country artist “a horrible phase of my life” and one she claims she embarked on because she was “bored” during the TV writers’ strike. Describing her radio tour and subsequent mall tour, McCurdy says she “hated every minute of it.” She also says “the whole thing was very contrived,” claiming she was coached to lie and say she grew up listening to country music.
— Remember when they were trying to sell us on the idea that “iCarly” star Jennette McCurdy was country? Jennette McCurdy wishes you wouldn’t. Phyllis Stark for Billboard.

I hate when people say there is no more real country music anymore, because there is. Just because it’s not on mainstream radio, who cares?
I’m gonna do what I want to do no matter what. I feel really inspired to make the kind of music that I do, and I don’t feel scared about it. I don’t think I’m doing the wrong thing. I don’t think it’s wrong at all. I think though that there are lot of listeners that want to hear that, and I think they will find it.
— Kelsey Waldon. Goodnight Hestia and Farce the Music recommend The Goldmine.

When I discovered Robert Earl [Keen] and started listening to his records, I was about 16 years old, and that’s a really pivotal moment in your life as an artist. Then I got to go see him in concert my freshman year in college, and it changed my life forever. Not only did I love his music, love his energy, love his band, love his show, but I also saw a guy who was not necessarily a mainstream act that you hear on the radio all the time, and he was absolutely killing it. It gave me the courage to go out and start a band and realize I didn’t have to move to Nashville. I could play music, have fun, and live my dream.
— Wade Bowen.

Q: What’s your writing routine?
A: I don’t have a routine. My favorite routine is waking up in the morning. I love that. I love that. I am in love with waking up in the morning. It’s so wonderful to wake up. I am so grateful. I thank whoever is running this shebang. I say thank you. And everything is up from there. I generally pick up the guitar. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I need a break. I go through periods I don’t pick it up for a couple of weeks, then when I do, the three chords I know, they sound fresh. I generally pick up guitar when I’m usually humming something. And if a song is going to happen, that’s how it happens.
— John Hiatt to the Chicago Sun-Times.

I’ve spent the last couple years getting ready for the next part of my career. I’ve really changed my approach to music and gave myself permission to do something completely different. It’s not about having a hit that has a number on it, but it’s about having a song that means something to me and the person listening to it. I have always been not frustrated but amazed that in any other business, the goal is to differentiate yourself. But in country music, what makes you unique doesn’t help you get played on the radio. It will always be a source of contention for me.
— Jack Ingram.

This is some of the best music we were able to do in recent years. We poured more of our energy into it, more of our spirits and souls, creatively, than we have the last five records, quite honestly.
— Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus, suggesting that the last time his band tried this hard was right around 2004. Apologies to all you folks who bought their records in the intervening years.

If you love music, play music because you love it. Don’t play music to be famous, and turn it into a business. Think about it. They say you have to sell millions of records. Well, you don’t. What if you have a band and you grew it to the point you could pay everybody $250 a night. You sold CDs, and you sold 10,000 CDs a year. 10,000 x $15 is $150,000. I mean you have taxes, and overhead and all those other things, but you can turn it into a legitimate business, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve grown our business every year since the beginning, and it just continues to grow.
— Aaron Watson on making a go of it independently.

McGraw took the stage in a white T-shirt and a pair of worn jeans during a Sioux City show, but Tracy said he travels with 200-some pieces of clothing. His jeans were so distressed that she was asked to patch them so they wouldn’t be as revealing.
“That pair of jeans I put back together for Tim McGraw had a history. He’d had them for a long time,” she said. “He wanted them mended but not look like they were mended. [Stars are] very much sometimes divas.”
— My favorite thing this week might be a pleasant-seeming Sioux City woman who tailors clothes from her home workshop suggesting that Tim McGraw can be kind of a diva.


  1. Ben Milam says

    Its hard for me to take Jack Ingram seriously anymore. Sucking up to people like Chase Rice and Brantley Gilbert on social media tends to tarnish artistic integrity if you ask me (& no one did).

  2. says

    Am I the only one that sees this 6/29/2014 posting as something of a classic? It’s got everything!! It’s got smarm, it’s got snack, it’s got gee-whiz, it’s got rants, it’s got Tim’s pants…Dolly, John Fullbright, Florida-Georgia Line, serious shout-out to Robert Earl, Reba’s ass, Jack Ingram plotting his next move…where is the Vernon Oxford interview?!??!?

    And as I was saying, Larry Gatlin: a great tenor becomes a poster child for Alzheimer’s…as the world turns… (and yes, I’m 70 last month, so I can tell any jokes about Alzheimer’s I want to, hoss). You don’t have to be a “liberal”, whatever the hell that is at this point in history, to note that no President since Herbert Hoover (for different reasons) has been treated with the orchestrated disrespect shown Barack Obama. Gee, why could that be?

  3. says

    It’s too bad that Dolly has that view of country music listeners. I mean, I don’t blame her, considering what radio is playing, but since she’s not chasing radio anymore, I hope she’ll record some of that dark stuff for us. I think we liked “Little Sparrow” pretty well, Dolly!


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