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It begins with a Doobie Brothers-like funky rhythm guitar, slams into a Maroon 5 “Sugar”-style chorus and pushes toward a scratchy Bee Gees “Jive Talkin’ ” guitar fade. ●
— Description of a country single in a country radio trade publication.
We were eating pizza and listening to Rihanna — not even country — now we’re here. ●
— Co-writer Josh Kerr, at the song’s Number One party, on the birth of “Love Me Like You Mean It.”
We’re constantly trying to evolve, mainly because we’re musicians and we get bored really easily. This song is one of those ones that’s like, ‘Someone is giving me the opportunity to be attached to an incredible song? Heck yeah, I’m in.’ ●
— Eli Young Band’s Mike Eli on getting involved with a remix of pop star Andy Grammer’s “Honey I’m Good.”
I mean, ‘cause that – there’s this whole fashion of people who want to take back country music and make it old school and country music to those people is the only kind of music that’s not allowed to evolve. […] I mean, rock ‘n’ roll, there’s nobody sounds like The Beatles. There’s nobody sounds like Bill Haley and The Comets right now. Pop music has changed drastically over the years and keeps changing. And, you know, everybody wants country music to be the same. All the country music fans only want to listen to classic country music and the umbrella’s just much bigger now. ●
— Darius Rucker on musical evolution.
Our energy was very punkish. We had an affinity immediately with [punk musicians] as soon as the downbeat starts. If you go back, you could probably see some clips on YouTube, there are some clips of us in New York City with the Blasters, after 1985. And you’ll see, that we were very raw and emotional in a very punk-like way. The form wasn’t necessarily punk, and the execution musically wasn’t, but the accessibility to the immediacy of the emotion — the emotional intent was very immediately accessible to that audience. ●
— Dwight Yoakam.
I am so thankful for music. As soon as I hang up with you, I will put something on. I have music going all the time. Sometimes, I listen to French music because I’m tired of understanding and I just want to feel something. I really love music so much! ●
— Ashley Monroe to interviewer.
She’s one of those people that is just kind of made out of music. ●
— Chris Stapleton on Ashley Monroe.
If (Tim McGraw) ever decides to put this down and drop the microphone, I’m going to hire him to do A & R because he’s one of the (best song people) in this town. ●
— Scott Borchetta at the “Shotgun Rider” Number One party.
We kind of cut our teeth on learning how to lead worship through high school, through college and even after college — learning how to connect with a big group of people, learning how to worship, learning how to lead, learning how to just be up there and be comfortable. If you can lead somebody to worship the Lord, you can lead people in having a good time. So I think it just comes natural. On a deeper level, God brought us together. ●
— Brian Kelley on how Florida Georgia Line is, quite literally, a gift from God.
I think content, lyrically, musically … the next single — I’m not gonna tell you the title — but I think it’s gonna change country music, again. I think it’s gonna change people’s lives. ●
— Brian Kelley on Florida Georgia Line’s upcoming music.
From the moment they walked out, the evening felt excessively choreographed, even by today’s live event standards. Between the overuse of the smoke machines to the laser lights and the lyric videos accompanying too many of their songs, it felt like you were sitting in on a well-oiled, sleekly produced package, more suited for a soundstage. ●
— From a Buffalo News review of a Florida Georgia Line show.
This is a stylistic approach that he helped introduce to country, yet its success is now measured in how far other, younger acts, from Florida Georgia Line to Sam Hunt, are able to push the boundaries. Don’t count Mr. Bryan totally out, though. During the encore, he played “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).” For just a few seconds in each one, he hit that slow gyration of the hips that he’s known for, and he looked like a man at peace. ●
— From Jon Caramanica’s Luke Bryan live/album review for the New York Times.
The music industry can get real, real busy and fast-paced and you look up, and you realize, ‘Man, there isn’t a female artist per se in the Top 10 or even in the Top 20 right now, and there was only one or two that broke in the mix.’ I think it’s about the ACMs and CMAs even forming some maybe committees to talk about it and see what’s going on in the radio community — it’s a whole industry situation to sit down and determine what can be done better to promote women in the format. ●
— Luke Bryan on the lack of airplay for women.
She was opening for me when she was still wearing her long, wrangled up blue jeans out there. She has really worked hard and I always liked the fact that she appreciates real country (music) and writes some stuff like that. Even some of her more aggressive stuff still has an edgy, roots-y sound I like. There’s still some good music out there. ●
— Alan Jackson on Miranda Lambert.
Some people even think [psoriasis is] contagious and want to stay away. I’ve had it under control for about 10 years, so it’s been this liberating thing for me to be able to wear shorts and a bikini. People make so much fun of me and my bikinis, but I would walk around naked if I could because I was one big scab at one point! ●
— LeAnn Rimes.
What we’ve done speaks for itself. If you feel like throwing us a vote, thank you. If not, I’m not gonna go do a song and a dance to get you to do that. ●
— Jason Aldean, asked why people should vote for him as CMA Entertainer of the Year. His label did take out ads in the radio trade publications, though.
I grew up in the sticks, fishing nonstop, and it’s like, ‘Well, what’s the code you have to live by? Who said I can’t learn to surf or broaden my horizons.’ You can call me country, you can call me whatever you want. I could give a shit what anybody thinks or calls me. ●
— Kip Moore, evidently aiming to take the “I Fancy Myself a Badass And Will Convey This to Interviewers at Every Opportunity” throne from Eric Church, who (surprise!) has had less need to talk big game now that he’s actually doing big things.
I think that the mistakes and the screw-ups and the atonement and the fixing, that’s the good stuff in life. That’s the marrow. How you come back is more important than how you got there. ●
— Pat Green. His (quite good) new album is Home.
If I could fix that, I’d be doing a different job. I tried to raise my kids the right way, do the right things and be good people. That’s all I can do. ●
— Darius Rucker on racism.
And it’s a frustrating process. Or at least it’s a shocking process. It’s like – you know how you leave your message on your voice mail? And if you listen back to your own voice on your voice mail, it makes you cringe a little? ‘Wait a minute – that’s me? Oh, I’m going to redo that.’ And that’s what it felt like. ●
— Kristian Bush on recording a solo album after years of being in bands.
I think that fans want new music more often. When you release a record every two years, even every year, it still gets boring. ●
— Hunter Hayes, whose current solution is to release a new song every couple weeks through the summer. If that doesn’t work, he could try making non-boring music.
I certainly don’t identify with what’s been called country music for the last few years. But I identify with that tradition, and I think if John Prine made country music, then I probably do, or Kristofferson or folks like that. That’s the kind of thing that I really affiliate with. But, yeah, country music is a term that’s a little bit dated because it doesn’t really represent all of us. To some, it means the things that are being played on the radio, then to people that are a little bit angrier, it means something that reminds them of Willie and Waylon and Merle. They’re going to have to come up with some new terms for it at some point. ●
— Jason Isbell on whether he identifies as ‘country.’
Right now, this [traditional country] music is not out there. I’m gonna make this prediction. I think in the next little while there’s going to be a traditionalist who comes out and blows the doors off. In the late ’80s, early ’90s, we had Randy Travis and along came Clint Black. It’s that time again. It’s time for another Keith Whitley or Randy Travis, and when it happens it will be pandemonium. ●
— Clay Walker.