Quotable Country – 07/29/12 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

I’m constantly going uphill, always going up, always striving for something. I think that’s what makes the music real. Because without the struggle, I’d quite frankly, be full of s***.
– – Mindy Smith thinks anything that comes too easy might not be worth doing.

I feel like we’re losing the fabric of what made America America a little bit. It’s slipping through our hands a little when it comes to the Christianity on which our forefathers founded this country — putting God first. So Gary, Jay and I, we know who we are and what our faith means to us and our fans. A majority of them and our contemporaries in the business are Christians and we’re just not afraid to share that publicly anymore.
– – Joe Don Rooney tries to make coming out strongly in support of Christianity – as an (alleged) country singer – sound like a bold move. What a revolutionary!

A bus doesn’t make things better for us. I end up feeling like I’m being carted around. I like driving because then I actually see the ground I cover. It’s one of the reasons we’ve pretty much stopped taking airplanes. The whole experience of flying sort of negates the great distance you’re covering and I want to know the distance. It’s important to me. All those miles we drive, we’re absorbing — reading road signs, reading historical markers, actually seeing what’s going on in the world.
– – Gillian Welch on choosing to tour by van.

Give a review! Give an informative, intelligent review of a film that actually helps people decide what movies they’d like to see. “Hey, here’s what I recommend for the family, and if you’re an adult, here’s what I recommend for you. It’s a little out-there, but it’s a fun adventure, blah blah blah…” In the same amount of time, you can actually give some informative news to someone, as opposed to… Why is it all of a sudden important for average Americans to know how much money a movie made at the box office? Once again, that equates in their mind with “This is what is good.” “If it makes money, it is good. If it doesn’t make money, it is not good, don’t waste your time.” And it’s killing art.
– – Actor Bryan Cranston (Walter White on Breaking Bad) points out how ill-served we are by the media’s obsession with box office stats rather than actual film reviews. Applies to the way music gets reported on in certain quarters, too.

We asked them, ‘What happens if we develop ourselves right out of the mainstream? We don’t even know what we’re doing yet — how are you supposed to know what we’re doing? And what if we end up being something you can’t market?’ And they were like, ‘Well, we’ve got a lot of sister labels that we can put you on.’ And we said, ‘Well, they’re not here signing us. Those people don’t know who we are, they don’t care what we’re doing, so we’re just going to get pushed around there, too.’ We really talked about it a lot, and it just came down to us having a bad feeling about it.
– – Jamie Wilson explains why The Trishas passed on a Sony deal to do things their own way. Quote from an excellent, lengthy Lone Star Music feature on the band.

We think we fit perfectly in the country music format. We don’t sound like Waylon or Hank, but we’re not trying to! We’re not trying to do what anyone else has done.
We tried to hone in on that Crosby, Stills and Nash and Eagles vibe.
– – Eric Gunderson explains how Love & Theft isn’t like anyone else in country music, but IS like Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Eagles. Which makes them country because, uh… I don’t know.

I’ve always wanted to make a bluegrass album. I tried to do that before with [Like Red On a Rose produced by] Alison Krauss. She took me in there and we made that easy-listening album. It was a cool album and I’m really proud of that, too. But it was a long way from bluegrass by the time we got through with it. I still want to do a pure bluegrass album.
– – Alan Jackson still wants to make that bluegrass album. Any thoughts on who should produce?

Or, believe it or not, maybe Martina McBride. [laughs] She’s a little tough cookie. She looks all innocent and quiet and soft, but she’s a tough cookie. She can handle the whiskey like the men can.
– – Lee Brice, asked to name the toughest woman in country music.

A person can’t sing somebody else’s song as well as they can sing their own.
– – Merle Haggard has some kooky notions.

Looking back on that time period, I can see where I would write 50 songs and I’d get one good one. Then maybe I’d write 40 songs and write a good one. Then it would only be 30 songs with a good one, and the gap just kept getting closer and closer and finally got to where anything you wrote was a pretty decent song. It took about six to eight years to get to that point.
– – Toby Keith on honing his craft.

You get hit every day from somewhere. The little stuff I don’t pay too much attention to. A lot of that stuff never even hits my radar, you know? […] I have 81 million spins as a songwriter. There’s no one within 30 millions spins of me ever in country music. I’ve been questioned on two or three songs in my life. Been sued once, and it didn’t make it to court. It was frivolous. There’s very, very, very strict copyright rules, so when one of these comes out of the woodwork, they’re either trying to make a name for themselves to get headlines or they let the people around them push them in that direction. In this particular case it’s probably not as much about the music, as it is about hate. If you go around and deal with those every day, I’d be dealing with it all the time. I’m open to whatever anybody wants to do, but you just have to say at the end of the day it’s just one of 10 things that happened that week. I don’t fight those little battles.
– – Toby Keith comments, for the first time that I’ve seen, on allegations that “Bullets in the Gun” owes a certain debt to Robert Earl Keen’s “The Road Goes On Forever.” His defense, in a nutshell: I write a lot of songs and have sold a lot more records than this Robert Earl Keen guy, whoever he is.

I got a call last week from [singer/songwriter/composer] Jimmy Webb’s manager asking if I’d be willing to do a duet with him for his next record. The idea of just being able to say, “I’d love to” instead of “Let me check with the record company to see if they will let me do it” is a great feeling.
– – Lyle Lovett is enjoying life after Curb.

Musically, I think, some of the best songs are on country radio and not pop radio. I think the songwriting is really strong and the stories are told in such a unique way. It’s a huge influence and always has been for Boys Like Girls.
– – Boys Like Girls frontman Martin Johnson. Great… just great.

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  1. Aikou says

    Uhh Merle may I just direct you to Robert Downey’s cover of Smile, that is all.

    Haven’t heard the original but Robert does a goddamn good job singing it.

  2. says

    So Gary, Jay and I, we know who we are and what our faith means to us and our fans.

    Hey, maybe this is a sign that Rascal Flatts is going to leave country for contemporary Christian!

    Apparently Toby Keith thinks copying people that don’t sell as many records is just peachy. Kinda ironic, in light of his previously-expressed attitudes on downloading music.

    • says

      Hey, maybe this is a sign that Rascal Flatts is going to leave country for contemporary Christian!

      No, dear, it just means they’re going to infect country music with more theologically-lite bullcrap. I don’t mean “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good,” mind, I mean “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

  3. Brocephus says

    I do not think that is a fair summation of Keith’s position. He thinks the people who came after him about “Bullets in the Gun” are more interested in bringing down Toby Keith (or pop country) than defending Keen’s work, which is a general lesson he’s learned over the course of his career of being the inflammatory person he is.

    I’ve heard both songs, the only things that stick out to me are the “dollar in the tip jar” vs “dollar in the jukebox” lyric, the general repetitiveness of the hook, and, I suppose, the subject matter (although it’s not like the basic plot was novel when Keen did it, either). Doesn’t seem like much to get worked up over, especially considering Bruce Springsteen’s remarks about “stealing” at that festival he recently spoke at.

    For reference, here’s the example Springsteen gave of one time when he lifted a sound from another group.

    The two songs’ openings are nearly identical. This makes me think that there is definitely merit to Keith’s claim that there’s a difference between actual infringement and being influenced by a sound, and that the people who went after him about his song are either unaware of this distinction or simply looking for an excuse to bash him. Now, of course, he could have gone out of his way to promote Keen, especially if he’s been influenced by the man, but there’s a big difference between being selfish and brash and being a thief.

    • says

      “Now, of course, he could have gone out of his way to promote Keen, especially if he’s been influenced by the man, but there’s a big difference between being selfish and brash and being a thief.”

      As you suggest here, I was mostly surprised that Keith didn’t at least acknowledge the overlap and chalk it up to common plot elements or shared influences or anything else, instead taking the opportunity to subtly cut Keen down by suggesting that he’s just another yokel out to make a name for himself. That seemed particularly unfair.

      I’m not convinced that Keith or his cowriter intentionally stole anything.

    • luckyoldsun says

      All I can say is that I played Toby Keith’s album before I had read anything about it and as I was listening to “Bullets in the Gun” for the first time, I instantly said “This is a rip-off of REK’s ‘Road Goes On Forever.'”

      That being said, lots of artists–including Johnny Cash–have ripped off songs.

      I liked the beatdown Keen gave him in “The Road Goes On and On,” but I still like both artists.

  4. says

    the Christianity on which our forefathers founded this country

    So they’re going to exile people from their shows based upon theological disagreements? Sweet!

    • says

      If im not mistaken the Indians founded this country. Were sitll vistors,

      The way it”s looking We might need io rename it welcome to United States of Mexico
      but thats another country song
      [link redacted]

      • says

        Hi Ben. Glad you found our site and seem to be enjoying it.

        As long as you’re contributing to the conversation, linking your name to your website is fine. But all these unrelated links within the comments themselves (I’ve already deleted a couple) are distracting and spammy, so please watch it with those in the future. Thanks!


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