Quotable Country – 08/29/10 Edition

This album cover terrifies me.

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the original source.

I walk the floor at home and my wife says, ‘What are you doing?’ I say, ‘I’m waiting for Friday so I can go to the Opry House.’
– – Little Jimmy Dickens on living for the Opry.

I’m working with Nathan Chapman and Stephanie Chapman, who are Taylor Swift’s producers. I think that’s a good direction in type of album and songs for me. I’ve been doing a lot of songwriting. Taylor Swift started in country music at 17-years-old, and a lot of people have called me “the male Taylor Swift,” so that’s not a bad thing.
– – You sure about that, American Idol finalist Aaron Kelly? Because it sounds like it could be a bad thing.

Made with the help of top players, singers and friends who range from Darrin Vincent, Adam Steffey and Ron Stewart to Vince Gill, Sonya Isaacs, Dale Ann Bradley and Larry Cordle, Rural Route’s assortment of songs—and masterful performances—demonstrates just how broad and deep Mellons’ command of bluegrass is.
– – Remember “Jukebox Junkie” singer Ken Mellons? He’s pulling a Joe Diffie/Patty Loveless/whoever else by coming back with an acoustic country/bluegrass album. Hard to imagine it being bad with these folks involved.

Opener and country legend Merle Haggard lined things up perfectly with a sophisticated set that pleased hardcore country fans. Brooks & Dunn hit the stage promptly at 9 p.m. with “Play Something Country,” as a Texas longhorn skull hung overhead.
– – It’s cool that he played to a larger-than-usual crowd, but I can’t help but be saddened to hear of Merle Haggard opening for Brooks & Dunn. I mean, isn’t that pretty backwards?

These sort of [labels] that had a do-it-yourself, shooting-from-the-hip aesthetic, I always thought they were responsible for the most inspired, creative, and interesting music in the history of popular music, simply by cutting through the corporate bureaucracy and getting the music directly to the people. And I think that’s what Jack’s doing.
– – Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum historian Michael Gray on Jack White’s label, Third Man Records.

But I feel like it’s time for us to move up a little bit. And that’s just really natural. It’s not ‘cause we want some kind of accolades or big money or anything like that. It’s just natural. We’re gettin’ so big in Texas that we have to have lights and more production, but then we get outside of the state and we could do without five of us on the road to make the show work [financially]. It’s a little bit weird spot to be in, where in Texas we probably need a couple big rigs and we get outside the state, we would be wasting money if we had [them].
– – Randy Rogers on building his band’s national profile.

I had that title for a while. I brought it into the session when writing with Dad and Casey. I threw out the idea and they really jumped on it. We went from there. Casey is really into sports and stuff, so we got off on that in the first verse. It was a really fast write. We finished it in about an hour. It was really neat because we wrote it, and we were really excited about it.
– – Dean Dillon’s daughter, Jessie Jo, on cowriting “The Breath You Take” with Casey Beathard and her dad. I wonder where on Earth she came up with that clever title?

She is kind of everyone’s granny in country music.
– – John Rich on his grandmother. I’m not sure how he figures.

Bucky actually had a little too much fun racing through the course, however, and took a spill head first after riding over some rocks and loose logs, according to Countryforever.com. But the daredevil still managed to get back on his ATV and win the race, head injury and all! “The best part about it was that at the age of 32, I head butted the ground like it owed me money … and the first thing I thought was, I can still win!”
– – If it’d been anyone other than Bucky, that head impact could have done serious damage…

It’s a pedal steel guitar, with 10 strings, and the guitar rises up out of it, on hinges.
– – Junior Brown on his latest contraption, the pedal guit-steel.

For example, I got an e-mail this morning, and it said, ‘I saw you on TV, and what’s the name of that song?’ Before, that fan would have to send me a letter in mail, wait until I receive it and read it, and send off a reply and by that time, he’s not only forgotten the song, he’s probably forgotten who I am. Now I can write that person immediately and say, that song is such and such and here’s where you can buy it.
– – Bill Anderson on changes in fan relations in the music business. Just imagine all the changes that will start happening when country fans learn to Google things for themselves!

She loves to sit around in the parlour singing those old songs with whichever family’s coming into town, in the same way that my grandfather used to do in the Black Country: they’d sit around with fiddles and sing. I never thought it had much relevance, until I realised that all of my memories of my father’s father were jubilant. He was very funny, and he was the founder member of a famous Black Country brass band, he played piano, trombone and fiddle. My dad played fiddle as well.
– – Robert Plant on being inspired toward the roots by Alison Krauss.

In the music business, there’s always experts. You get signed to a major label deal, and the first thing they want to do after you have a lot of success is change you. They all of a sudden [say], ‘So and so just had a triple-platinum album with this kind of music, so this is what we want you to do now.’ That’s exactly how it works.
I say, ‘Why do I have to do that?’ I’m having success with ‘Bubba Shot the Jukebox’ and ‘Too Cold at Home’ and things like that. And the next thing you know, they wanted me to record pop songs. I got the same old spiel: ‘Ah, well you know, business is changing, radio is changing, the demographics are changing,’ and I didn’t agree. I guess I’ll probably never have another chance in Nashville like I had before, and I hate that.
– – Mark Chesnutt on getting chewed up and spit out by the major label system.

Everybody thinks that country songs are the easiest ones to write. It’s complex to write something that appears that simple. But I like that particular style, and those are my favorite kind of songs, too. The challenge is writing a good one. It’s easy to write a song. A good one’s the hard part.
– – Marty Stuart on the difficulty of writing (good) country songs.

Q: One of the overlooked virtues of country and folk songs is how well-constructed they are. A song like “Long Black Veil” is a perfect narrative in miniature, progressing flawlessly with every verse.
A: Well, that’s an art. That’s what made the first impact on me when I got the list when I was 18 years old, is examining these songs and seeing how well-constructed they were, and why they were on the list, why they were great songs. There’s a very subtle art to doing exactly what you just said: evoking this cinematic quality like in “Long Black Veil,” and this narrative that is so taut, and in three verses, it tells you everything that’s happened. That’s very difficult.
– – In her interview with the Onion A.V. Club, Rosanne Cash concurs.

It’s really pretty amazing. I get up and turn on the fog machine and he comes up through the floor and says ‘Ladies and Gentlemen … ‘
– – Trisha Yearwood on living with Garth.

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  1. says

    Aaron Kelly – Taylor was 16 when she started in the music business, not 17.

    Aaron has a great singing voice, so let’s just hope that he can pick good songs without his producers ruining them. I’m not overly optimistic.

  2. Church\'sChicken says

    I suspect the label executives that Chesnutt discusses probably know a lot more about who is listening to radio and about demographics than Mark Chesnutt does. Every time I have heard Chesnutt talk, he comes across as unintelligent. Once in an interview with Blair Garner, Chesnutt couldn’t even remember some of his own songs. It was cringeworthy.

    I doubt that if a label exec said, “Mark, we know that Too Cold at Home did well on radio in 1990,” but songs like that are not getting played in 1997,” Chesnutt would be capable of offering an intelligent and convincing reason why he could record a song like that in 1997 and get radio play with it. And unless he could have a reason, then I say don’t let him record those songs anymore.

    Artists like Mark Chesnutt don’t deserve “artistic freedom” because they don’t seem capable of using it in a way that could generate profits. Profits are the most important thing. These artists are recording for corporations who have shareholders and the executives have a duty to those shareholders. Someone needs to tell people like Chesnutt what to do or kick him to the curb and let him be a loser has been on an indie label.

    • says

      You know, I want to like Chesnutt. I really do. I like a lot of his songs. But every time he opens his mouth to talk instead of sing, I just want to punch him. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain as much as he does, and he’s been doing it for years. There are a lot of artists out there who ranked artistic integrity above Nashville success. He can do it too. There’s not a damn thing about Mark Chesnutt that’s so special we need to listen to him whine about lack of airplay.

    • says

      I don’t know if he’s ‘unintelligent.’ I think he’s like many who love country music, he believes it should and would still get good airplay if given a proper shot.

      As for not knowing every song, there are MANY artists that are like this, even some of their hits.

  3. Rick says

    Shouldn’t Aaron Kelly be seeking to mimic Justin Beiber’s sucess rather than Taylor Swift? Maybe he can get hold of a pink Taylor brand guitar like Taylor Swift used to get attention when in her early teens…

    Well at least the instrumental and background singing portions of Ken Mellon’s new bluegrassy project should be bearable! Was Jon Weisberger in on this project, and if not why not?

    I take a slightly different approach to describing Jack White’s work than fan boy Michael Gray! My quote would have been more along the lines of “These sort of [labels] that had a do-it-yourself, shooting-from-the-hip aesthetic, I always thought they were responsible for some of the most insipid, crappy, and self-indulgent dreck in the history of popular music”. I can guess without a doubt that Michael, based upon his quote, is an Obamavoter as twisted perceptions seem to be his specialty.

    I’m just surprised that anyone, anywhere wanted to know information about any song Bill Anderson performs these days! Bill and Little Jimmy Dickens are my two main “auto mute” performers on the Opry. Sheesh…

    I think the Onion’s A.V. Club question to Rosanne Cash should have started off as “One of the overlooked virtues of country and folk songs is how well-constructed they can be if done properly.” Just how many of the songs on Top 40 AirHead Country Radio these days can be considered well constructed? Sloppily tossed together from hackneyed, well worn topic lists by committees of songwriters maybe, but well constructed? Hmm…


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