Quotable Country – 07/12/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

But Reba is also a realist. It was her choice to say, three years ago, “You know what? I don’t think I should make another record. They’re not going to play me.” That is what crushed me. We’re such a blockbuster world, we’re such an 18-44-female world. Well, I call bullshit on that. There’s a helluva lot more life and a helluva lot more fun than just that demographic.
— Scott Borchetta to Holly Gleason.

When I began writing songs professionally in the mid-’90s, the Nashville writing scene revolved around the song. Great writers got together and wrote the best songs they could write while publishers were out on the streets playing those songs for anyone who would listen. Artists built their careers on great songs from great writers. Writing a great song was the only way to succeed.
— Marty Dodson, who says songwriting is more clique-y and artist-centered these days.

To date, SiriusXM The Highway has been responsible for nationally breaking Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Chase Rice, Parmalee and Old Dominion, and coming along quickly are Clare Dunn and Logan Mize.
— If you’re looking for someone to blame…

I’m not afraid to write a stupid song.
— Logan Mize. Seems like he should do fine. Thanks a bunch, SiriusXM’s The Highway.

It’s so annoying. I get so tired of hearing these people ask, ‘So what do you think of bro-country?’ I don’t care.
— Jake Owen.

As country music embraces all that is deemed cool about being a bro—booze, babes, and a #YOLO party attitude—it makes sense that Boston is now listening.
“Listen, I don’t think anyone would be drinking Fireball right now if it wasn’t for Florida Georgia Line,” Shruhan said. “And now if we don’t bring Fireball to Countryfest, we are going to be kind of f**king losers.”
— Boston.com’s Meagan McGinnes with a wish-it-were-satirical look at why bro-country is blowing up in that city. This Joey Shruhan character calls the bro-down “our generation’s hippie movement.”

I honestly think the bro country thing is old news. I think the only people talking about it still are reporters, here and there. To me and Tyler, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t affect us and we really don’t care about it. We’re thankful to being playing our brand of country music, call it what you want, put it where you want. […] People have a hard time labelling good music.
— Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley has been mentioning ‘good music’ quite a bit in recent interviews. I’m starting to suspect he thinks he knows what it means.

Q: The party energy of the form right now, with all those hip-hop and rock influences, is so infectious.
A: Well, yeah. I think that people who want Merle, Willie and Waylon just need to buy Merle, Willie and Waylon. I’ve never been a “Those were the good old days” kind of guy. I’m not big on looking back on the past. I’m not an outlaw country singer. I don’t do cocaine and run around. So I’m not going to sing outlaw country. I like to hunt, fish, ride around on my farm, build a big bonfire and drink some beers—and that’s what I sing about. It’s what I know. I don’t know about laying in the gutter, strung out on drugs. I don’t really want to do that.
There’s plenty of room for people to like Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jason Aldean. We don’t all need to be the same.
— Controversial Luke Bryan remarks, all the more inexplicable for how unprompted they were by anything the interviewer said. Working through some lingering feelings of inferiority, hoss?

I wouldn’t say I’m the guy that can write 10 songs and they’re all going to be life-changing.
— No kidding, Luke Bryan.

But Bryan threw a few surprises in the mix. He brought Lynch, Rhett, and Houser back out for a special jam session that included bits of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” and Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” which featured another standout performance from Houser. Florida Georgia Line returned to the stage next for an impromptu collaboration of Alabama’s “Mountain Music” and Journey’s “Faithfully.”
— From a Billboard review of Luke Bryan’s Nashville stadium show.

That’s my audience. I want to sing for people who will listen. I’d rather play at a festival for five people that are so into it they can’t take their eyes off me than play for an arena full of people that are talking and screaming.
— Ashley Monroe on the warm critical response to Like a Rose.

I will never sit down and do an album for, like, critical acclaim or just to be artsy. I don’t want to do start doing all these weird lyrics, because that doesn’t speak to who I want it to speak to. You know, that doesn’t speak to my fans that come to know my music.
— Luke Bryan, taking a slightly different tack. So don’t expect him to get all weird and artsy just for the sake of winning over all the music-reviewing cocaine addicts or nothin’.

There could always be more [critical] voices. People should embrace criticism and understand it doesn’t always come from spite, anger, or even opinion. It comes from the desire to see things be better.
— Saving Country Music’s Kyle Coroneos, quoted in a Tennessean piece on country criticism from outside Music City.

The easy way out is to not ask more of the fans, to just drop whatever’s easy. But why surrender your creativity to follow the crowd? I think if you ask more of your audience, they will respond. If you ask less, they will respond too. It’s that simple. […] I don’t think it’s right to belittle the audience because of the music being made. You have to ask if the gatekeepers are listening to some of this stuff and going, “This is great.” Maybe they are, but you wonder. Our audience isn’t dumb. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I feel in tune with country fans. I grew up around ’em; I was one. You can’t sell these people short.
— Kenny Chesney to Holly Gleason.

Well, I think any artist that gets boxed in, it’s their own fault. If you’re not doing something that’s authentic to what you should be doing, then you’re not doing the right thing anyway, and if you’re doing it just for the money, then it’s probably the wrong reason. I do feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to do what I do. You know, for years when I played bluegrass I saw songwriting income dip quite a bit because I was out playing bluegrass, but that’s what I wanted to do and out of that I got into this. So I mean, there’s all these things that you do for the right reasons and hope the back end of it works out. And for me, that’s generally been the case. I really don’t like to operate any other way. When I do it upsets the balance to me of trying to make music for the right reasons.
— Chris Stapleton, holder of the integrity.

I didn’t think it was very groundbreaking. Just certain elements get focused on. To me, it was just fun. We were just having fun.
— Sturgill Simpson on Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.

It’s high time that a symbol so divisive be removed. The flags coming down symbolize the extent to which those who cry “heritage, not hate” have already lost their argument. Why would we want to fly a symbol that has been used by the K.K.K. and terrorists like Dylann Roof? Why would a people steeped in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible want to rally around a flag that so many associate with hatred and violence? Why fly a flag that stands for the very things we as Southerners have worked so hard to move beyond?
— Patterson Hood, writing about the Confederate flag for the New York Times.

A lot of people pull that out of my songs and use it, either for or against me, but it’s not a whole lot different than people singing about moonshine. To each their own. I think everything in moderation. I don’t have anything to hide, that’s the thing. That’s one small fraction of what life is, you know? It’s a very small part of the human experience. And for a genre that’s built on being very real and very forthcoming about all kinds of things, I think it’s important to include everything.
— Kacey Musgraves on mentioning marijuana in songs.

You place more judgment on yourself than anybody else. Sometimes you wind up stuck in situations where you can’t get out of your own head, and you have to learn how to handle that if you’re going to be a sober person. I think that was a big part of why I drank as much as I did: just to escape myself sometimes. That’s not an option if you’re not going to drink or not going to take drugs. You’re just going to have to sit there and get to know yourself better.
— Jason Isbell to Juli Thanki. Something More Than Free comes out this Friday.

“How many of you like country music?” he asked the fans. “How many of you like real country music?”
He then smiled broadly, well aware that he had made his point about traditional country music and how it fits into his life and music.
Fortunately for the crowd, Morgan got the train back on the track with a fantastic version of the Eagles’ Life In The Fast Lane. He followed with This Ol Boy, Almost Home and a new tune, It’s All About The Girl, before venturing back into the classic rock world with Steve Miller’s The Joker.
— Craig Morgan, playing both sides.

This is no gimmick. This is me.
— Mickey Guyton.

You know, I really believe I would have [been fine as nothing more than a songwriter]. Because I’m still self-conscious about going on stage, and things. I love singing and I love sharing my songs with people, especially if it’s something that I wrote. But I still feel a little uncomfortable in front of people.
— Alan Jackson, touring artist of 25 years.

I think, I can’t really swear to this, but I think I was leaning towards making a blues record before my marriage fell apart, I mean once and for all. We’ve been separated a long time now, three years. But we separated just as we were making the last record. And you know, I don’t think it’s so much the cause of me making a blues record as much as the only thing that’s fortuitous about my divorce, is that it happened to happen when I was getting ready to make a blues record.
— Steve Earle on Terraplane.

These songs are like little capsules. Right now, I’m enjoying them so much because I’m getting to sing my own songs instead of somebody else’s. Nobody ever asks for anybody else’s, so I just play mine. As you sing one, it’s like you go back in time and get to enjoy at least the feeling of how you felt when you wrote it.
— Billy Joe Shaver.

I just don’t really like competition. I remember one time I was in a competition in the Tennessee Valley, and it came down to me and this other boy. I ended up winning, but the boy started crying after he lost. I felt so bad, so ever since then I haven’t really liked competing.
— Emi Sunshine, age 11.

He’s a loser, but she doesn’t know it yet. She’ll find out in the third verse. (Also) they robbed a gas station.
— Trisha Yearwood, verbally summarizing the remaining lyrics of “Walkaway Joe” after she lost her place in the song during a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum performance.

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  1. Sabra says

    This Joey Shruhan character calls the bro-down “our generation’s hippie movement.”

    See, this makes me kind of sad, because at its heart the hippie movement was about finding some deeper meaning in life through a closer connection to the earth and to other people. Which seems to be the opposite of “booze, babes, and a #YOLO party attitude”.

    Also, I love Steve Earle, but he’s damn near giving Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money in the marriage department.

  2. CMitch says

    18-44 female world? That’s a large age gap.

    Being part of that demographic, I find it hard to believe that’s who country music radio is aimed at because it makes my stomach sick.

  3. Scotty J says

    ‘And now if we don’t bring Fireball to Countryfest, we are going to be f**king losers’

    This may be the least self aware quote of all time.

  4. Scotty J says

    Luke Bryan is living proof of the old adage that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. What an idiot.

    • Erik North says

      Especially given who he basically insulted, an ultra-legendary figure (flaws and all) in country music. That’s something that Luke Bryan just proved he’ll never be (IMHO).

  5. Sam G. says

    I’m guessing Luke Bryant’s feelings about Outlaw Country stem from the fact that he heard “Sunday Morning Coming Down” one time and just assumed every outlaw song was exactly like that.

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