Quotable Country – 07/14/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

The best band in the world right now are the Punch Brothers, in any kind of music. They’re better than any jazz band that I know of, any rock and roll band that I know of, any bluegrass band that I know of and they can do all three of those things. I really think they’re the best band on the planet.
– – Steve Earle.

A band is the most volatile thing that you can get involved with. I swore 20 years ago that I’d never produce another band, and this is kind of par for the course.
– – Charlie Peacock, producer to the (currently disbanded, yet still releasing new music) Civil Wars.

I’m still learning to write simple. It’s what you leave out that lets the audience use their imagination…
When it’s not so cluttered, or studied, or obtuse, it can just communicate. That’s the deal: the fine line that leaves room for the listener and not be preachy. It’s like great guitar players—it’s not the hot licks but the holes they leave that draw you in.
– – Guy Clark on songcraft.

He’s also responsible, through no fault of his own, for what I call country music’s Messiah Complex. After he revolutionized the widespread appeal for traditionalism, which led to a solid decade of traditional country artists being signed and succeeding wildly, the sounds began to drift back to pop and rock flavorings. Since this shift, every slightly twangy newbie has been anointed as the savior of country music. Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley, Dixie Chicks, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Jamey Johnson, and Gretchen Wilson have all been shouldered with the burden of being the next Randy Travis.
– – Country Universe’s Kevin Coyne, astutely: We Need to Have a Little Talk About Randy Travis.

He had a way of communicating with people that I’ve never seen before or since. If he was sitting in a room, everybody wanted his attention. Everybody wanted to be talking to him, everybody wanted to be a part of what he was. But Johnny would always go to the person who was kind of sitting on the outside and make them feel like they were a part of it. He would always say something nice.
– – Jimmy Fortune (Statler Brothers) on Johnny Cash.

If I disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, and all that was left of me was this stack of paper containing all of the lyrics I’ve ever written, I hope that someone would be able to read those words and determine that I was a pretty decent person, all in all. That’s what this song is about– the hope that, all tricks of the trade aside, my soul stands out on its own through the words that leave my pen and end up in my notebook.
– – Drew Kennedy on “The Poet at 33″ from his upcoming album, Wide Listener.

Has it really been three years since Carrie Underwood threw on a custom-designed Monique Lhuillier gown with more than 3,000 handmade silk organza flowers dusted with crystals and a 40-carat diamond and white gold tiara to marry Mike Fisher? And three years since those six tiers of IveyCake cupcakes, eight bridesmaids, a rat terrier in a blinged-out pink tuxedo and 250 guests at Georgia’s Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation resort, where the room keys were custom-made with a CM logo and the bride and groom’s first dance was to a live version of Christian singer Brandon Heath’s “Love Never Fails”? And three years since the honeymoon in Tahiti?
– – Finally! Alison Bonaguro is writing about Carrie Underwood’s wedding again.

I’d spent years and years and years probably never being onstage without having a drink. It’s still something I struggle getting used to. It’s not a stage fright thing as much as it’s just trying not to be self-aware. […] That was easy to do when I was drinking. But being sober, you go out there — and it’s getting easier now — but I’m thinking, ‘I don’t go around wearing these tight jeans and dancing around like a chicken on a hot plate in my everyday life.’ That was what was hard.
– – Tim McGraw (in conversation with aforementioned Bonaguro) on performing sober.

Instead of listening to the latest from L.L. Cool J or Public Enemy, I would go to the record store and play his song “Diggin’ Up Bones” over and over again. My friends would snicker and mock the twang in his voice. What they couldn’t understand was that the various inflections in Travis’ voice were the commas in the stories that he spun. Stories so universal that a white adult man from a small town in North Carolina could touch a skinny black kid in Detroit without ever meeting.
– – CNN contributor LZ Granderson, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s journalist of the year in 2011, on the far-reaching impact of Randy Travis.

They told me right off the bat, ‘That’s already been done, son.’ I remember that very distinctly, that they didn’t want anything drawing on any kind of musical roots.
– – Wayne Hancock on getting a chilly reception in Nashville.

You might have to come out and see for yourself on the road this time. [It’s] somewhere in the middle of Jack Daniel’s and Jesus.
– – Tyler Hubbard on Florida Georgia Line’s bus parties.

This year, however, it finally came to pass. Jackson assembled an all-star cast of bluegrass pickers and singers in April, and tracked a new all-acoustic record at The Castle outside of Nashville. In the studio were Sammy Shelor on banjo, Adam Steffey on mandolin, Tim Crouch on fiddle, Tim Dishman on bass, Rob Ickes on reso-guitar, and Scott Coney on guitar. Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby were on hand to provide harmony vocals, with Keith Stegall and Adam Wright producing.
– – Good news: An Alan Jackson acoustic/bluegrass album is imminent. (September 24, to be exact.)

Our shows are like fingerprints: No two are alike. Anything can happen. We love having fun. That’s what it’s all about. We sing about the good, the bad, the ugly and the party on the weekend. Living life and singing about it and drinking to it with Jim Beam or sweet iced tea – that’s what we do.
– – Eddie Montgomery on the ‘fun’ artistic vision that leads Montgomery Gentry to sing songs like “Titty’s Beer.” (Don’t click that link unless you feel like being skeezed out by two old guys at Spring Break.)

Music is about enjoyment and making people’s lives better. You don’t ever have to listen to music or play music — it’s not something that sustains life or puts food on the table. What this whole industry is about is making people’s lives better.
– – Gibson Guitar’s Henry Juszkiewicz.

Interestingly, the video has exactly one more black person than Old Crow Medicine Show’s version: Rucker himself. But no one seems to notice. Even the old white man who picks him up doesn’t bat an eye when Rucker shows a photo of his white love interest. Suffice it to say that for the average black man hitchhiking in the pre-Civil Rights South, that would not have been advisable.
– – Ryan Teague Beckwith, with an interesting rumination on race in the “Wagon Wheel” music video.

Hang in there, Randy. You remain in our thoughts.

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  1. CraigR. says

    I am sorry but the Rucker comment reminded me of what really turns me off about Darius Rucker, aside from his boring, useless voice. I cannot tolerate most of the music videos he has made. As a black man watching another black man singing a love song, and then seeing the story acted out by white people in the background I am apoplectic. How dare he make a video in the 21st century and not think that it is part of his duty as an entertainer, with a unique pigment, to finally show black country folk falling in love. Is that because he believes that his white audience wouldn’t approve? Rucker has no idea how just that move alone makes me doubt that his effort is a sincere attempt to create country music. And if I was white I might see it as pandering, which is another desperate move to distract from the fact that he lends nothing new or exciting to country except maybe his color.


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