Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
[It’s] very naked. You’re just out there with you and your guitar and you depend on the people to kind of take care of you and they have my whole career and so Vegas was just a love-fest. ●
— Garth Brooks describes his Vegas residency as a naked love-fest, which wasn’t necessarily an image I desired to have implanted in my head. Thanks for nothing, Garth.
Our job is to whether you agree with bro country or hick hop or whatever, our job is to fly the flag for country music. I want these people walking out of these arenas to go, ‘That’s the best show I’ve ever seen. That thumped harder than any rap show I’ve been to. It was louder and more chaotic, it was just stupid.’ That’s what I want to hear. ●
— From the Garth press conference. Don’t know about you, but the main things I look for in entertainment are loudness, chaos, and stupidity. What else is there?
Garth Brooks is like God. ●
— Irish Daily Mirror reporter Alana Fearon.
Another theme I see fading into the gray is genre distinction. These days, nothing great you hear on the radio seems to come from just one musical influence. The wild, unpredictable fun in making music today is that anything goes. Pop sounds like hip hop; country sounds like rock; rock sounds like soul; and folk sounds like country—and to me, that’s incredible progress. I want to make music that reflects all of my influences, and I think that in the coming decades the idea of genres will become less of a career-defining path and more of an organizational tool. ●
— Taylor Swift, in her much-discussed Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Luke’s a very different animal than just that. He’s very much about entertaining people. So if this Bro Country thing falls apart, I’m not too worried. All the guys coming along now, they’re doing what Luke was doing six years ago. His interests are pretty broad, and he has a good sense of what a hit is. He doesn’t like standing in the same spot. Where’s he going? We don’t know, but we trust him. ●
— UMG Nashville chairman/CEO Mike Dungan on Luke Bryan…
I’m totally fired up about Kacey; just how much it tweaks me personally and as part of the label to bring her to the marketplace. She’s cool as hell, brings a true authenticity to the format. She’s not a smiley, eager to please kind of person, but she’s the real deal.
And I think we’re finally coming with a single [“Keep It to Yourself”] that’s devoid of any offensive language, no matter your political and social leanings. No controversy, if you will, but again, very real. Besides, those who’ve found her are zealous. It’s about growing her audience. ●
— … and Kacey Musgraves. Interviewed by Holly Gleason for HITS Daily Double.
People talking and partying doesn’t bother either of us. I mean, the name of the damn tour is “Hold My Beer and Watch This,” so we obviously want people to have fun. It doesn’t matter to me if someone’s not interested in me as long as they’re drinking beer and having a good time. ●
— Randy Rogers says he and Wade Bowen don’t mind your disruptive antics during shows.
Sometimes when records defy categorizing, they’ll be called ‘Americana.’ It’s this preverbal lint trap for this musical spin cycle. [This album] is a blues singer with drum loops. I don’t think it’s a blues record or a hip-hop record, maybe it’s all of those things? I think that’s part of what makes the richness of the Americana scene, is that we get to claim things that don’t necessarily have banjos in them. ●
— Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, including R.L. Burnside’s Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down on his list of essential Americana albums for the Wall Street Journal.
He taught me the folk process. It’s about the distillation of songs you’ve had in your head when your head was sort of a virgin wilderness and how to turn those songs into songs of your own. It’s kind of like professional theft. He taught me to steal from the best and from him, because he’s the best. ●
— Ketch Secor on Bob Dylan.
The label has never been anything less than an extension of team for me. There’s aspects of it that I couldn’t deal with, as far as radio promotion and that sort of thing. That has nothing to do with the radio stations, by the way. But radio promotion is like an entirely different community of people that ask you to do a whole lot of different things. If you say “no,” then you’re not being a team player and they ushered you out the door. And if you say “yes,” then you’re probably gonna be standing on a stage by a car dealership with a monster truck show going on right behind you, trying to deliver your music. I thought more of my music than that, so I quit doing those kinds of things.
I don’t buck their system — I buck the things about their system that make it anti-artist. If what you’re looking for as an industry are people who are agreeable and will do whatever they’re told or asked or otherwise forced to do, you’re gonna end up with a community of artists out there that aren’t real artists. The definition of artist is that stuff has to come from the inside. If it comes in from an exterior force, then that’s just singer and entertainer—and there’s other words. It’s not the proper incentive. ●
— Jamey Johnson to Jewly Hight for the Nashville Scene. Recommended reading, obviously.
I didn’t speak until I wrote a song. The first word that I spoke was the first song I’d written. That’s how I first started playing music and you could say that playing music comes as natural to me as speaking. ●
— Gary Floater.
With Phil [Vassar], I was everything — I was general manager, but I was also the mailing room. I also got a better appreciation for every little dime that went out — every shipment, Play MPE, just every budget item there was on the Excel form. This was Phil Vassar paying money out of his wallet, so having a conscious knowledge of the money we were spending was very valuable. I literally [say] when something happens [and they ask] “What’s the average cost of putting out a single?,” I could tell them, “A quarter of a million dollars.” “Really? You’re kidding me.” “Yup, that’s what it’s going to cost.” It’s made me appreciate just how much money it takes to compete. ●
— Teddi Bonadies, VP national promotion and strategic marketing at Streamsound, on the enormous costs of properly taking a single to country radio. Even more than I would have imagined.
[Bro country] has brought a lot of new people to our format. I think it’s fantastic. There are those that are disenfranchised—some of the artists, some of the industry, some of the fans. When music changes, there are always complainers. But it’s self-policing. When it hits its point of saturation, listeners are going to start reacting, and radio’s going to look at Mscores and say “Whoa! This music is starting to fade on us.” But that’s nowhere in the foreseeable future. I really think the bro-country movement is very strong and great for our business. Mainstream rock is not happening, and I don’t think rap is very strong right now. So people are looking for music, and here we are, having a party—want to come to us? ●
— Gary Overton, CEO of Sony Music Nashville, to Chris Willman.
I’m the kind of person who would walk up to Eric Church and say, ‘Eric, take your sunglasses off, dude. It’s nighttime!’ Just because I’m a knucklehead. For whatever reason he’s wearing them, it’s none of my business. But I’m the one to say it when everyone else is thinking it. ●
— Wynonna Judd.
[Opry photographer Les Leverett] said, ‘The secret to being a great photographer is, don’t show ’em the bad ones.’ You learn as you go. I spent a lot of money trying to figure out how to shoot things. But the truth is, these kind of characters, these old architects [of country music], if you get it in focus, you pretty well have it — it’s kind of like shooting Mount Rushmore. ●
— Marty Stuart.
I’m attracted to a certain type of voice/artist. I am not necessarily attracted to the big, huge voice like the Whitney Houston’s — even though I love her voice, no question — or Celine Dion. … Dwight Yoakam is similar to Dolly (Parton) or Reba (McEntire) or Patsy (Cline) in the sense that his voice is so distinct and you always know it’s Dwight Yoakam. I have always said he will go down in history as one of the best male country voices of all time. ●
— Sara Evans (a recognizable voice herself) on Dwight Yoakam.
Q: So there was nothing rural about the songs you were writing back in the day?
A: No. It was very much like, I assume, the guy that wrote Terminator and the guy that wrote the movie with the blue people.
A: Yeah. I’m assuming they’ve never seen anything like that [in real life], but they were able to write it. I’m assuming you didn’t go to that planet, and you met blue people and you wrote the movie. It was something that was made-up. So I spent a lot of time in music trying to be something that I really wasn’t, and it’d never worked. ●
— Colt Ford to Jewly Hight, suggesting that “Terminator” and “Avatar” were not drawn from real-life experience (heresy!) and/or that all fiction is fraudulent.
I know some artists that are bitter and jealous and frustrated and they can’t seem to find a place to be relevant. That’s not me. I won’t let that happen because my brain doesn’t feel good not being involved in the game. Whether it’s Carnegie Hall or the county fair, it doesn’t matter. I’m Wynonna Judd, I’ve earned a right to be here. I’m alive and I can sing from my toenails. ●
— If nothing else, the ability to sing from her toenails should keep Wynonna busy on the sideshow circuit.
I went to church one morning, and the preacher shook my hand and said, “Rivers, you had anything on the radio lately?” And I said, “Yeah, I have a song out with Toby Keith out right now called ‘Bullets in the Gun.'” So the preacher asks me what it’s about, and I kinda hesitated and said, “Well, it’s about an Outlaw biker who goes to a strip joint, hooks up with a stripper, robs the place, goes to Mexico, has sex and is killed by the federales.” So he looked at me and said, “Well, uh… don’t forget to tithe, brother!” ●
— Rivers Rutherford, who perhaps could have also ‘tithed’ Robert Earl Keen.
I did not understand the legend of Hank Williams at all. I just thought of him as an old guy who sang songs. I was clueless. But all these guys that I loved – Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen – would talk about Hank Williams Sr. I met Dylan in Europe. I was flipping out about meeting my hero, and he just wanted to talk about my grandfather. ●
— Holly Williams.
We really like pop country music late at night when we’re driving. I wouldn’t say those are my favorite artists or anything. We listen to Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and modern rap music, too. […] The fact that every song on country radio uses the same three metaphors, it’s pretty much a canned commodity at this point. Luke Bryan is not sitting down and going, “How can I express myself?” But at the same time, there’s something to be said for its lowest-common-denominator appeal. The songs are catchy, so over the top with their themes and messages, that it’s funny and fun to listen to. ●
— Robert Ellis (Lights from the Chemical Plant) on modern country.
“I don’t want my fans to sing my songs and stand there, I’m want them raging,” Rice tells Taste of Country. “I want ‘em partying. I want ‘em screaming my songs at me, which is why I put out the songs I put out.”
What is “crazy,” exactly? Most don’t take it this far, but Rice recalled a woman in the front row at a recent show in South Carolina. He could tell something was going to happen, so he kept glancing her way.
“All of a sudden, next song … she’s completely naked in the front row,” he shares. “Took her dress off — I’m just like ‘What in the world is going on?’” ●
— Chase Rice, inheritor of Eric Church’s “The More He Talks, the More We Dislike Him” mantle.
@Farcethemusic “bro-country” is inspired by and loved by women. I meet those women daily from all over the country and identify with them. ●
— Maggie Rose, just in case you thought her “Girl in Your Truck Song” was supposed to be some kind of statement. Blech.
Mine is really simple and boring. We usually ask for 2 percent milk and cereal. ●
— Brad Paisley on his tour rider.