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If a bunch of people want to say, ‘All he talks about is dirt roads and tailgates,’ well, you know, that’s what I see my people liking. When I visibly see them rebelling against that and not enjoying me singing about it, then I’ll start tinkering with new ways to sing about tailgates and stuff. ●
- – Luke Bryan on giving the people what they want.
Mr. Bryan, as anodyne a singer as exists in the genre, has an unconvincing voice and not much attitude to sell it with. A few times on the competent but wearisome “Crash My Party” (Capitol Nashville), released this week, he sounds dutifully twangy, but those moments are exceptions. ●
- – “Good news, Luke. You got a write-up by Jon Caramanica in the New York Times! Before you get too excited, though…”
I think about telling my dad, who worked for 46 years on the railroad, ‘Somebody offered me $100,000 to put my song in a movie, and I said no because it’s a stupid movie.’ He would want to kill me. The idea of selling out is only understandable to people of privilege. ●
- – Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy is unfazed by ‘sellout’ accusations.
You were attacked last week. If you work in, listen to, receive airplay on or aspire to receive airplay on Country radio, or if you derive a measure of your livelihood from any of the people categorized above, Peter Cooper and The Tennessean have declared that you and your efforts lack merit. If you’re at all associated with country music and Country radio, it’s important to understand just how fully a prominent Nashville media outlet has belittled your entire industry and community. ●
- – Country radio industry pub Country Aircheck takes serious umbrage at Peter Cooper’s take on Tom Petty’s take on modern country radio. Of course. But wouldn’t their time and effort be better spent making country radio not suck?
I’ve always found country to be basically like a church. It’s got to keep evolving, but it’s gotta do it in a way that it doesn’t lose its values or its core congregation. But it has to continue attracting new parishioners. ●
- – Keith Urban on the balancing act of evolving country.
I think what happened with country is when you come on to the market, there’s only two ways you can compete, and it’s the same in my case: I can only compete by doing what everybody else is doing and do it better, or I can do something nobody else is doing and then you don’t invite comparisons. That’s how I got to where I was doing more pop music because no one else was doing it. ●
- – Kenny Rogers on the personal impetus to expand country.
My take on how to dress is this: Wear what you want to wear. Do what you want to do. Be who you are. Pick out your own clothes. Be a man. And if that’s too much to ask, as it almost always is for me, think of someone you consider to be a man and pretend to be like him. I pretend to be like my dad. ●
- – Lyle Lovett to Esquire.
In short, “Cruise” is bro-country: music by and of the tatted, gym-toned, party-hearty young American white dude. It’s a movement that has been gathering steam for several years now, and we may look back on “Cruise” as a turning point, the moment when the balance of power tipped from an older generation of male country stars to the bros. ●
- – New York Magazine’s Jody Rosen.
There was definitely the reality that female artists are far more judged on the way they look than male artists are, especially back when I first got my record deal (in 1995). There were a lot of male artists that were being signed to record labels then that looked like the guy who worked on your dad’s farm. They were not pretty boys but that was not a factor. But for female artists it was different. Shortly after my first record came out, Shania Twain blew the whole country scene open, and it shifted even more towards that ethic. It’s a shame, it’s the most pervasive thing that female artists have to face: that they are going to be judged that way and not on their songs, singing or performance. ●
- – Gretchen Peters on the gender problem.
I was writing songs from a woman’s viewpoint and there weren’t that many songs like that. Back at that time there was preponderance on finding – and the slang makes me sick – “a female attitude” song. This is some kind of skin-deep, sassy independent female but it is not even scratching the surface of what independence really is, what it means and what it costs – those songs are primarily written by men. I think Martina and Faith are intelligent women and artists, and I guess they saw more depth in the women [of my songs] and were attracted to them for those reasons. ●
- – Gretchen Peters on what set her songs apart in the ’90s.
I thought that when you grew up, when you weren’t in school anymore, you wouldn’t have to deal with bullies anymore. I guess I thought that meanness was something that we outgrow. Well, when I grew up, I realized that meanness is part of the human condition. And it’s part of something you’re gonna have to deal with the rest of your lives. No matter where you live or what you do, there’s always gonna be someone being mean to you — someone who says something about you that’s not true or talks behind your back or doesn’t invite you to something you really wanted to be invited to. And I think one thing that I’ve learned when I realized that is that it’s not so much about wishing away mean people — because they tend to be the kind of people you can’t change — so I think it’s better to focus on what you can change. Which is how you react to it. And if you can, possibly make a mental note that you’ll never ever make someone else feel the way they make you feel. ●
- – Taylor Swift, introducing “Mean” in concert. Quote via Alison Bonaguro.
I’ve been pretty consistent about making records throughout my career. I’ll probably keep that pace, which is a [release] about every 12 months or so. I’ve talked about doing a big-band swing album for years. Maybe I’ll get that done. Also, I’m writing more now, so if I have material that I feel is good enough, I’ll do a complete record of all of my songs. I found a bunch of old songs not too long ago that I wrote in the ’70s and early ’80s, and I’m going to go back through those and see if maybe I can do some of those. ●
- – George Strait looks to the future in a Billboard cover story.
It’s hard to say why I’ve had the longevity that I’ve had. Maybe it’s not doing all of the interviews. I’ve definitely been conscious of overexposure, though. I don’t do everything that presents itself. I don’t do a lot of TV. I’ve never let the music business be the only thing in my life. There are other things that I love to do as well. I don’t rope much anymore, because it was getting too hard on my back and knees, but that used to be my passion, and I couldn’t wait to get off the road and concentrate on that. ●
- – George Strait again.
It’s pretty much impossible to drink. People are like, ”Man, do you get drunk before you go out?” and I’m like, “Well do you get drunk before you go to the gym?” It’s kind of counterproductive to get drunk and that’s not very professional in my opinion. ●
- – Luke Bryan on (not) drinking onstage.
Country music star Rockie Lynne lived in Coon Rapids for just a short time – only seven or eight years – but still considers himself a native son.
And the city’s fathers seem to agree, presenting him with a “Rockie Lynne Pkwy” street sign during opening act of Lynne’s Aug. 8 concert at Sand Creek Park. ●
- – In case you’re wondering what happens seven years after your sole Top 40 Country Hit: You get your own street sign in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
That it is just … well, it’s a very personal instrument. It’s an expression of yourself… and its power is powered by your breath. So instead of hammering away like a drummer would, it’s very close to being an internal expression. The way you breathe controls the sound. Everything is tied into my breath. [The harmonica] becomes a part of you. But it’s more internally, because you’re not really watching what you are doing. It’s just total air. ●
- – Mickey Raphael (of Willie Nelson’s band) on the appeal of the harmonica.
For me, going back to bluegrass and mountain music was like giving water to a thirsty man. That traditional Appalachian music is part of the wide rolling river of American roots music. No matter how many years pass, or how the place itself changes, that music is a constant flow of fresh water from a deep mountain spring. There are different creeks and tributaries; some flow into the old-time current, and some flow into more commercial waters. But there’s something about that pure mountain stream that still connects us to the old. It’s our musical heritage, and it keeps me nourished. I needed to take a drink of that fresh water straight from the source. ●
- – Ricky Skaggs, in an excerpt from his new memoir posted at CMT.
The audience is why I’m there. There’s no other reason to be there except for the people who paid the money to see you play. ●
- – Darius Rucker states the obvious.
Marty Stuart invites Old Crow Medicine Show to join the Grand Ole Opry: