Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
I’ve got a girl, she just turned 4, and my daughter plays into my thought process on that. There’s a little bit more [to love] than just dancing on the tailgate. Oddly enough, I played it for a friend of mine who’s got a daughter who, I believe, is 16. She heard it and was like, ‘Yes! I am not the girl that looks good in cutoff jeans.’ She feels awkward in them. That’s why she gravitated toward the song. ●
— “Girl in a Country Song” co-writer Aaron Scherz to Billboard’s Tom Roland.
I’ve kept an open mind the whole time in the business. Whatever trend was going forward… you go along with it and embrace it… Whatever way our industry is going, instead of bitching and moaning about it, you just say, “I like this business, and if I want to stay in this business, then I need to adapt and do it willingly.” If you do it like that you’re going to be able to make it. ●
— Country Radio DJ Hall of Famer Coyote Calhoun on 45 years in the business.
You see a lot of artists, if you listen to the radio, watch MTV or whatever it is, you see a lot of people kind of taking the easy way out all the time. And it’s hard to pay attention, because it’s sort of like everyone is going through these standard motions — do this, do this, do this.
And you see in certain genres, where country music in Nashville everyone is insanely scared to take any chances, because there’s only one format at radio. And if you don’t get it, they won’t play the song, so don’t even bother. I feel sorry for those kind of worlds too, because they have to live by these restrictions that they didn’t think up. ●
— Jack White, in an extensive interview with the Detroit Free Press.
I think there is a delicate balance that you have to strike between what doing what you know people want and what you want as an artist. At the beginning of my career, I certainly didn’t write songs because I thought they would be hit songs or that they would give me a music career. I wrote those songs because it made me happy. By just being myself, we earned an audience. ●
— Corey Smith.
But ever since hitting the top of the country music charts, Niemann said, he discovered a whole new challenge. Back when he was unsigned and writing songs in Nashville, it was easy to see where the music industry was headed next.
“Once you are in the thick of it, it is so hard to see. It’s definitely tougher when you’re on the inside looking out,” Niemann said. ●
— Jerrod Niemann can feel himself losing perspective.
Lots of people have lots of jobs now, so that’s a good thing. But I think we’re in danger of diluting the product. If I contribute to that, I’ll be ashamed of myself. If the industry itself does that, I have nothing to worry about. All I have to do is keep what I do a little bit fresh and make sure it blends kind of with what’s being played on the radio. Eric Church is an original guy. My ideal situation is to be an original guy who can get played on the radio, be myself and still be part of the mainstream. ●
— Joe Nichols on country becoming the mainstream music of the moment.
Hank Williams Jr. is able to pull in different genres and make that acceptable for country music and rock music and all those genres because he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about the boundaries. He doesn’t care about the people that say, ‘You can’t do that. Let’s keep it just country.’ He doesn’t really care. He never has. And so, he’s got my respect just for that alone, not even counting the music. ●
— Can anyone imagine the ultra-traditional Joe Nichols of 2002 celebrating Hank Jr.’s inattention to genre boundaries above all else? Me neither.
Songwriting in 1972 was less about making money and more about finding your voice – finding the poetry – finding a way to do it that may come to a level of a Van Zant or a Guy Clark or a Mickey Newberry or a Kris Kristofferson. No thought to what the earning power of any given song was – we all assumed if we wrote a good song, the money would come in the mail – and it did. Whereas now it whatever you write has gotta earn that money pretty quickly. If it doesn’t, the shelf life of songwriting is very short. ●
— Rodney Crowell. Go grab Tarpaper Sky if you haven’t yet.
A lot of journalists will try to pull me into that negative conversation about trashing [Music Row]. It’s not anything to do with that, it’s more to do with me. I know that they would have trouble with me – I don’t want to give up the freedom to be able to make music I want to make. To be honest, arenas and stadiums aren’t what I aspire to. I kinda dig the small clubs. I didn’t shop High Top Mountain. I didn’t shop this record [Metamodern Sounds in Country Music]. The plan was always just to put it out myself. I really don’t have a concrete answer as to why, I just always assumed that I’d save everyone the trouble because I don’t think I would fit into that world very well. ●
— Sturgill Simpson to American Songwriter, with what is becoming a common theme for him.
All the stuff I did with him was recorded in four days. It was just a bunch of buddies hanging out. I remember being in the studio and hearing him coming through the headphones and thinking that you never hear voices like that. He’s just incredibly talented. He’s so mysterious, though. We’d record, then we’d sit outside, and you’d never know what he was thinking. You don’t know if he likes it or what’s going through his brain. Is he going to punch me or go write a hit song?” ●
— Producer Dave Cobb on working with Jamey Johnson. He also talked to Rolling Stone Country about working with Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and the Oak Ridge Boys.
“It did what it did, and here we are,” Stapleton says. Diplomatically, he chalks up his current situation as downtime, then adds, “We’re still working on it and figuring out a plan. I’m still writing and making music, and writing for other people. It’s all one pot to me. When the right door of opportunity opens, we’ll walk through that.” ●
— Chris Stapleton, who’s apparently still in major-label-recording-artist limbo following the lackluster chart performance of “What Are You Listening To.” Craig Shelburne titles his piece “The Unsung Heroism Of Chris Stapleton”… and we earlier offered “10 Proofs That Chris Stapleton Is a Superhero”… so there at least seems to be some consensus on that point.
Jake Owen Scores T-Pain, Mike Posner for Epic ‘Beachin” Remix ●
— This headline? Of course. Published by Taste of Country? Of course.
It’s not about visiting Nashville for a short period of time and handing out your CD and if it doesn’t work, going home. I learned that this is about meeting people and getting here and throwing your life into this and letting this be your life, because it’s a decision of a life. It’s not even really a decision of a career, ‘cause for a long time you might not have a career. I didn’t and a lot of people didn’t. You find out quick when you get here it’s really about being here, meeting people, making relationships, playing your songs over and over and over again and just staying at it. ●
— Lee Brice on making it in Nashville.
Musical styles come and go all the time. Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town still are as good vocally as anyone has ever been. It’s the bands with harmonies that seem to be down in numbers. The Zac Brown Band is great, and hopefully, more great bands are waiting in the wings. ●
— Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart on the lack of harmony on modern country radio.
For the most part the response from bluegrass fans has been overwhelmingly positive. We just got back from a really successful appearance at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, which was an amazing thing to be accepted into. But there is that fun little slice of purists for whom what we are doing is a crime against nature. They are certainly entertaining. Especially the claim we hear now and then that hip-hop is too violent. Apparently they aren’t away of the incredibly violent tradition of “murder ballads” that are part of bluegrass history. One day on tour I put a version of “Knoxville Girl” on in the van and the rappers’ jaws dropped. ●
— Rench from Gangstagrass – they do “Long Hard Times To Come,” the main title theme on the FX series Justified – on mixing bluegrass and rap.
So people sneaking in and not paying attention, that would be the sign of a really good show for me. ●
— Dierks Bentley, non-sarcastically, doing his best to alienate me.