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We wanted to make a conscious effort to re-evolve. You want to push yourself and do something outside your limits for a new project. ●
— Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood thinks ‘re-evolve’ is a word that means something. “You know that continual, gradual process of development that never ends? We wanted to do it again.”
The worst thing that could happen in a Nashville writing is to write a song that everyone loves, or try to write the next Kenny Chesney single. I wrote a song every day for eight months. I was writing with Jeremy Spillman and I couldn’t come up with anything. Jeremy told me that I didn’t have to write a song every day, which was a revelation to me. ●
— The Song Survives spoke with “What We Ain’t Got” songwriter Travis Meadows.
Look at something like “4WP.” In the middle of this bro-country movement, with all this criticism about [the genre’s reliance on] the jean shorts and the mud and the outdoors, we do a song that’s just like that… but we include a sample of myself from 2003! Which is kind of like saying, ‘I have a little license. I kinda did this already.’ But it’s written so tongue-in-cheek, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. ●
— Brad Paisley has a license to bro.
I control the presentation. That, to me, is the most important thing now. Some music critic — let’s say they don’t understand what I’m doing and they give me one star. My fans, they know better. They heard it first. Guess what? If you’re writing a review, you don’t matter now, because they’ve heard it. They’ve made their own mind up. ●
— Brad Paisley explains his (tiresome) Moonshine in the Trunk album leak strategy.
That’s really the most pleasurable thing about writing songs, in my opinion. County music really opens itself up for that and embraces the silliness and humor of wordplay without trivializing it. And trying to find good lines is a challenge, but turns out George Jones didn’t actually sing all of them after all! ●
— Cahalen Morrison to CMT Edge’s Chris Parton. His new album is The Flower of Muscle Shoals.
Country today is the largest format in terms of appeal and market share, certainly the last of its size that hasn’t fragmented. To me it wasn’t a question of will the format fragment, but when. And that time has come. The whole idea around NASH Icon is to create a parallel universe in country. Not a flanking format, but another platform for artists that were extremely prolific in the mid to late ‘80s, ‘90s and early to mid 2000s to regain some of that relevancy again. Unlike other attempts to fragment this format … this is really based on solid metrics, the depth, appeal, and attraction of these artists, the low burn of their music (meaning people still enjoy it), and the fact that they’re not present in country on the radio. ●
— Cumulus Media’s John Dickey, quoted via Saving Country Music.
The whole album is searching for parts of me that I think have… not gotten lost along the way, but stuff that I haven’t addressed in my music as much as I used to, whether it’s drinking songs, heartbreak songs or songs about how people treat you. Things like that. […] My last couple of albums have been so positive, because when I made them I was just getting married. It’s been in this awesome place. But after a while, as a country singer, I gotta get back to singing about getting drunk because there’s people out there — and I’ve been one of them — that have had their heart broken, or they’ve had a tough day at work, or they get stabbed in the back. ●
— Blake Shelton on Bringing Back the Sunshine… or Bringing Back the Country? We’ll see.
Without that leverage, [Scott] Siman and [Skip] Bishop cite the cost of moving a record through the system as an immense challenge for independents. They agree that spending the amount of money that would have gotten them a hit 10 or even five years ago won’t get them close today. “We used to say it costs about $750,000 to $1 million to break an act, and that’s not even in the ballpark,” says Siman. “You’re looking at $2-3 million to break an act in today’s marketplace.” ●
— Via a Country Aircheck article on the challenges of competing at mainstream radio as an independent label. Anyone have $2-3 million to blow on pushing another mediocre song by an artist who won’t be around in three years up the charts?
While talking about his induction to the Country Hall of Fame, Haggard said, “They called and asked, ‘Do you have anything near and dear to your heart that you don’t use anymore?'” Following a comedic pause, the Hag quipped, “You can ask my wife about that,” as Theresa burst out laughing. When he continued the story, someone shouted, “I love you.” “I love you too,” Haggard replied, sternly adding, “but that’s not what we’re talking about.” ●
— Sounds like Merle Haggard had a good ol’ time during a rare two-night residency at the Ryman. He plays out this way pretty regularly. You should all move.
To sit at Hank’s grave, to spend the day at Cash’s childhood home in Arkansas, or to go in search of Robert Johnson’s grave in the Delta excites and invigorates me in the same pure way that their music did when I first heard it. These trips fire up my creativity and imagination. Music is a sacred thing, and I need to go to sites that have sacred symbolism for me; it’s the duty of any good pilgrim! In some respects, too, it de-romanticizes my heroes in a good way — by visiting their graves, it’s a reminder that these mighty, near mythical figures were indeed mortal after all and just on the same journey as the rest of us. ●
— Ben Glover, whose new album Atlantic is out tomorrow.
None of us create a f**king thing in this world. The only ones who create anything are the ones who are completely miserable, and that’s what I strive for. I know what I’m talking about here. The artist’s friend is misery, and if you don’t have it, you are never going to do anything great, Mike. If you tell me you’re going to sit down and paint your masterpiece, or you’re going to go and write the great American novel, you’ll never accomplish that. You can’t, because you have to do it accidentally. It has to be done by a guy like Van Gogh who was just trying to pay the rent for his prostitute girlfriend and her three year-old kid, who was starving to death and disowned by his own family and couldn’t sell any of his work. There must have been a Justin Bieber back then, don’t you think, who was successful and selling his work for a lot of money, and we don’t even know the name! We don’t even know the name of that successful person but we do know Van Gogh. ●
— Kinky Friedman, subscribing fully to the suffering artist trope.
I guess I would say that if you meet someone who seems certain about where the music business is going and how to conduct your business, than you just want to smile and nod at and then walk away from them as soon as possible. Nobody has any f**king clue where this is all going. ●
— Mark Erelli, whose new album is Milltowns.
I saw Taylor Swift this week. She said, ‘You’re so funny in those Pizza Hut commercials!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Taylor. That was my goal all along as a kid: to make it to this level in country music so I could sell the most amount of pizzas possible… reach the biggest audience of pizzas that I possibly can. ●
— Professional pizza pitchman Blake Shelton.
I think a lot of the [Top 40 mainstream country] artists, their records don’t see a lot of attention past what their singles are. iTunes is such a big thing, to just go download one song at a time or whatever. I feel like our fans really buy the records still, they buy the hard copy and they listen to the whole thing. And they may not like every song on there, but they like a majority of them, where — I don’t know, man, maybe I’m wrong on this too — but I feel like a lot of the Top 40 stuff that’s out there, people are just buying the song that they hear on the radio and wearing that out. [We] try to make it as solid of a record as [we] can. I feel like records should still be made as a whole, and I think people will listen to ’em. ●
— Micky Braun of Micky and the Motorcars.
I try to write for radio as much as I can. I think there’s a certain type of songwriter who writes that album cut that we all love, that was never meant to be on the radio. And unfortunately, people don’t really buy albums anymore — they’re just going to iTunes and buying the song they heard on the radio. Those are the writers that we’ve lost. ●
— “Amazed” songwriter Marv Green.
There’s a difference between a singer and someone that can really make you feel something. I was always influenced by a lot of great singers but never someone that can connect with something like she could and break your heart. She was amazing. She crossed so many boundaries of country and pop. For me, she’s one of the greatest singers that ever lived. ●
— LeAnn Rimes on Patsy Cline.
Let me tell you what Taylor Swift is. She’s a kickass songwriter. That girl knows what she’s doing. And whatever she does for the rest of her life, she will always be a great songwriter and have my respect. ●
— John Rich.
The featured band, Florida Georgia Line, was remarkable only for the fact that its members, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, seem less like a contemporary-country act and more like two guys who have lost the other half of their boy band. Hopefully they’ll start spending less time in the gym and more on honing their craft. They too are pushing the boundaries of the genre, but dubstep bass tones — and the whole “bro-country” subgenre — may be a bridge too far. ●
— From a Jason Aldean concert review in the Albany Times Union.
The house was so full it was getting to be embarrassing. It’s good to get a lot of this stuff out of the house, and it looks a lot better here. ●
— When Alan Jackson’s house is a little cluttered, he gets his own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Problem solved.
I really didn’t envision anybody wanting to cut the song. It was exposed to a few people, but I think some were afraid of it. They thought it was too sarcastic. They don’t like to insult people. ●
— Bob McDill on eventual Alan Jackson hit “Gone Country.”
A lot of music is like the fruity shooters — you know, the Top 40 songs of the week. And that’s great! You know, my music doesn’t go very well with a bachelorette party; somebody’s music needs to do that.
Roots music is a little more like a bourbon. In that world, some people are fine with whatever the bartender pulls from the bottom shelf. It’s brown, it came from a barrel; they’re just gonna put Coca-Cola in it and pound it until they’re parched anyway. But the music that I love, and strive to make, is a little more small-batch, distilled — hopefully like a sipping whiskey. ●
— Talking to NPR’s Melissa Block, former bartender Cory Branan strikes on a top-shelf analogy.
Musgraves blames the lack of diversity in country on being “stuck in this really constrained subject matter. It seems like there are five things people sing about: partying, drinking, driving down a dirt road…” The irony is that “in the country genre you can be, quote unquote, ‘too country'”. Meaning? “It’s the instrumentation. If you don’t sound like you’re trying to be some kind of rock spin-off, you’re too country.”
She’s pushing those boundaries but thinks there’s “unfortunately” a limit to the kind of subjects you can sing about and still be mainstream. “But hopefully that goes away because I think the best music is inspired by every emotion possible, not just a party or a truck.” ●
— From a Kacey Musgraves feature in British newspaper The Independent.
Get ready to party. Our songs are strictly about getting crazy and dancing and partying. ●
— Dustin Lynch, offering something I haven’t heard in… minutes.
Besides my new album (Urban Cowboy, Where the City Meets the Country) I also have a group album coming out with the Duke Boyz, called Denim & Chrome. The group includes my brother KoolWhip from Austin Texas. Anywhere you’ve seen Mikel Knight, you’ve seen my brother Koolwhip. On stage, or in the videos, you can’t miss him. Also Nashville’s own Jellyroll, as well as myself, make up the remaining members of the Duke Boyz. This album is like a mixture of Brantley Gilbert, Lil John, and Mikel Knight. Add a little whiskey and some buckshot, and you got Denim & Chrome, due out this fall. ●
— Country rapper Mikel Knight, ladies and gentlemen.
This is going to be a gut-bucket record. The most honest piece of work I’ve done. In the past, I’ve been a little bit, because of my age, a little bit obsessed with the vocals sounding good, but I want this to be so real that people are like, wow, she’s singing from her toenails. Perfectly imperfect — it’s real, it’s not slick, it’s not Photoshopped or put through a voice box that makes it sound perfect. It’s raw, sweaty, here it is: me. ●
— Wynonna working on a new album? Great. But this toenails thing – she mentioned it in a different interview last month too – is troubling. Not that I don’t enjoy hearing people sing from their sweaty toenails, you understand. It’s just not an image I’d care to dwell on.
Vince Gill is producing it again; we have 11 songs recorded and we’re gonna go in and do some more. It will probably be out early next year. I’m so proud of it already; I got to hear one of the tracks the other day with Alison Krauss singing on it and I just wept. I was just like ‘wow, I just can’t believe I get to make music for a living.’ I can’t wait to share it. ●
— Ashley Monroe (!) talks next album, with Vince Gill producing (!!) and Alison Krauss singing (!!!).
It’s like having a doctorate: It’s a title you put before your name, and nobody can take it away from you. But even doctors can be quacks, so I certainly don’t rest on my laurels in that regard. ●
— John Fullbright on being ‘Grammy-nominated’ John Fullbright.
Grammy-nominated John Fullbright sings “Happy” on Letterman.