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There’s just something about having something that sounds timeless up against something that doesn’t — where a lyric that’s really in your face has music that’s not, you know? ●
- – Kacey Musgraves on her formula for musical success.
Musically speaking, Clark is a classicist: Her songs are models of fine Music Row handicraft, built from time-tested materials. She’s a brisk, vivid, witty storyteller; her tunes unfold in old-fashioned weepers and chugging honkytonk, with fiddles, pedal steel, and vocal harmonies driving home the punch lines and pathos. Clark is an excellent singer, with a voice that slides easily between songbird prettinesss and hard-drawlin’ twang. ●
- – New York Magazine’s Jody Rosen on Brandy Clark, whose excellent debut album finally has a release date: October 22. I’ll try not to wax too much poetic about it until we’re closer to a time when regular music buyers can actually hear it. But it won’t be easy.
Oh, it was a marvelous thing. The people would light up. He would walk from one side of the stage to the other, acknowledging the applause, and you’d watch this master showman at work, doing what he did the best, playing his guitar and singing his songs. Nothing was ever the same twice, so you stayed on your toes. Then his wife, June Carter Cash, would come out and do a comedy routine, and that was always hilarious. It was a fantastic experience. It was addicting. It became a total addiction, a positive addiction, doing a job you like to do and traveling with people who were all like family. There was a unity there, a shared experience. ●
- – Earl Poole Ball on performing with Johnny Cash.
You’ve used that word twice, and I find that word a little offensive when it’s applied to songwriting. I really think it’s poetry and it’s art. I let it get stuck on me when… Rounder had bought some masters of my three Warner Bros. albums and wanted to put it out, and I said, ‘That’s fine, put it out, whatever you wanna do.’ And the cover came out with Craftsman as the title of the album. And it rubbed me wrong right then. My life was crazy, and everything was goin’ on, and I said, ‘Yeah, shit, I don’t care,’ and the more it stuck, the more I grew offended by applying that to the art and the poetry of writing songs. At least, my approach. ●
- – Guy Clark to Nashville Scene’s Edd Hurt on songwriting as “craft.”
I was really sick when I was doing it, the whole time. I was barely making it into the studio, and thinking I might have to re-record all those vocals. But it wound up that the vocals have a certain character to them, a gravity that I really like. I’ve always been trying to get to that, and I guess I never was sick enough to get it. ●
- – Guy Clark to The Tennessean’s Peter Cooper on recording My Favorite Picture of You.
They can free you in a way from how you always think, or think straight. About getting the rent paid or the car fixed. I don’t have anything against doing drugs and drinking and writing. I got a lot of songs I wrote under the influence, and I got a lot of songs I did really straight. It’s what you do with it. I’m not sure Shakespeare wasn’t taking methamphetamine all day, or something. ●
- – Guy Clark (who has been entertaining a lot of inquisitive visitors at his home here lately) to American Songwriter’s Marissa R. Moss. His new album is better than crack. Get it.
Guy Clark is always taking in everything that’s going on around him. He’s in a creative mode whether he is writing or painting, he’s in a creative mode when he is speaking to you. Just to be with him, to be in his presence, is a lesson first in humanity, but in art for sure. To be around Guy makes you want to be a better person, much less a better songwriter or painter or anything else. All that is just an extension of Guy. ●
- – Lyle Lovett on Guy Clark.
I think she has evolved in many ways, especially her singing style. When she started out, there weren’t many vocalists who could serve as a role model for a voice like hers. There were a few women in bluegrass — Hazel Dickens, Cousin Emmy, Rose Maddox — but they all tended to be belters. Ralph Stanley and Tony Rice were among her early influences. She really had to invent the wheel. It wasn’t reinventing. Alison found her voice and in doing so helped to find a voice for a whole generation of female vocalists. ●
- – Rounder Records co-founder Ken Irwin on Alison Krauss.
When I told him I played country and he objected that it wasn’t really country in the usual sense, I said: I play the kind of thing that you might hear if you come to America and go out in the country — not the thing you hear if you rent a car at the airport when you arrive and hit the “country” button. That sounds too self-satisfied by half, perhaps, but it stipulates that the music has more actuality and solidity to it than some momentarily valuable consumer good, that it’s something plenty of people actively use in their lives, a craft and a tradition, something that existed before records and radio and would continue to if all that went away tomorrow. ●
- – Robbie Fulks, reflecting on a recent press interview in a blog post.
As a kid in Kennett, Missouri, I didn’t love country. My parents were in a swing band. I listened to everything from James Taylor to the Beatles, and later the Stones, Linda Ronstadt and Gram Parsons…
I just played with [Darius Rucker] in Buffalo [N.Y.] at a country fest. He is who he always was. Country fans will decide if I belong in that format. ●
- – Sheryl Crow wins classiness points for refusing to give country fans the hard sell.
I think it’s kind of interesting how country music is about ‘real life,’ but there are people who don’t [want] me to live it. Within real life you make mistakes. And you know, you own up to them and move on. And that’s the greatest thing–we’ve all moved on. And it’s time for other people to move on. But it seems now to be this story, almost this soap opera, that people are invested in. They love the drama of it. Which is insane to me. ●
- – LeAnn Rimes.
[John Hiatt's] fans are the best. I went out with John Prine as well. It’s the same thing. Both are long-term singer-songwriters who have built up their audience. You have 500 to 800 people a night pin-drop quiet listening to you. That’s brilliant.
Last record, opening for country artists with 10,000 or more there, I’d hardly sell anything. They could care less about a folk singer with a guitar. They were there drinking beer and waiting for the next person to come along. ●
- – Holly Williams on finding her niche.
I think as a 56-year-old man, life looks different than it did as a 26-year-old man or a 16-year-old kid, and you probably see that reflected in the songs — more life lived, more experience, more knowledge, more grace, less arrogance. That’s life. It’s supposed to humble you as you go along. ●
- – Every time Vince Gill speaks, we find another reason to appreciate him.
COME, BE MESMERIZED: Carolina Chocolate Drops performance of “Leaving Eden” on the Opry.