Quotable Country – 09/01/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

We have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn. Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price — and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.
– – Kevin Spacey on the success of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” the first major Emmy contender (with nine nominations) to come from the online streaming world.

As for Janis, it was impossible not to love her. She was a sweet, sincere person, and she truly loved the music. Not only was she passionate about the blues, but she had great respect for the people whose shoulders she stood on, which I appreciate: We’re all standing on somebody’s shoulders, aren’t we?
– – Linda Ronstadt on Janis Joplin, in conversation with Alanna Nash.

There’s a whole segment of the audience that doesn’t want to go to bars any more. They don’t want to hear the opening act at 9. They want to hear me at 7.
The youth market that is in bars, they aren’t into the singer-songwriter thing anymore. What I do – and what the Americana acts do – trends older. That’s fine by me, because I’m older. The people I attract are my age group, from 50 on up.
– – Tommy Womack, in a fine Tim Ghianni article on the growing house concert trend. Hosts tend to be more, uh, seasoned citizens.

And while some house concert hosts have special guest rooms for their troubadours, other times the performer finds himself sleeping in a room made vacant for him. “There are all kinds of things we (house concert performers) joke about and laugh about, like sleeping in a 7-year-old’s bed,” [Jon] Byrd says.
“There’s the assumption of intimacy when you do a house concert,” he says. “You know there’s going to be this little meal before and you have to talk to people.
“And, of course, they are very envious of what you are doing, though they don’t know the costs. They’ll say ‘it must be great traveling and meeting new people’ and I’ll say ‘it must be great to be able to afford health insurance or a mortgage or drive a nice car.’”
– – From another Ghianni article on the challenges and downsides of house concerts. These two, taken together, are the most thorough coverage to be found on the topic. Good reading.

I’ve had an amazing career, but I do think it’s harder for women to break through. And when they do, it’s really powerful. But I think it depends on when you’re looking, because I remember a time in the ’90s when there were a lot of women on country radio. We had Trisha Yearwood, Wynona, Faith Hill, myself, Patty Loveless; it was really woman-heavy. It got a lot of attention, and I remember reading a lot of articles about it, and I thought that was weird – you know, we have to write about how strange it is that there are more women on the radio than men at any given time.
– – Martina McBride on women in country.

You can sway a civilization with a phrase. Kristofferson did that with his songwriting: He learned to put words together in a way that changed things. That’s what we strive to do. We want our shadow to fall on the masses and elevate them. We want to change them, molecularly.
– – Songwriting legend Chris Gantry (“Dreams of the Everyday Housewife”) to Peter Cooper.

I think that the personal and the specific is how you get to the universal. If you give somebody a general platitude, it may be true, but it doesn’t reach anybody, it doesn’t affect or touch them. If you give them a detail, a minute and perhaps poignant detail, that’s how you get to the universal. It’s almost like a needle. You can get in deeper with something very small. That woman in “Five Minutes,” for instance, she’s not me. She’s not most people. But we all have those three in the morning feelings, wondering, “Oh, my God, half my life has gone by and what have I done?” My job was to frame those stories emotionally so I could feel them and hence so that hopefully listeners can feel them, too. I always think of myself as the first member of my audience. If I can affect myself emotionally, then there’s a chance that I can get to the listener too.
– – Gretchen Peters on songwriting.

One of my main complaints about Nashville music… is whenever you hear interviews with [those] guys — you know, like Rascal Flatts or somebody like that — they say their influences are George Jones and Merle Haggard. And that’s a flat-out lie. I’m just saying, if you’re going to state your influences, be honest with yourself. You listen to Boyz II Men, you don’t listen to Merle.
– – Dale Watson. The general point is well-taken, but do members of Rascal Flatts actually cite George or Merle as influences very often? I don’t really think so.

It wasn’t that people were trying to push me into anything. It was more that the material was OK but it didn’t really come from a different point of view. It was like, ‘Oh, this could be a hit. Let’s do this.’ I had the sense to be patient with all that, because I thought that if I’ve got one shot to say something, it better mean something.
– – Kacey Musgraves on passing up earlier deals while finding her way in Nashville.

I don’t really have an opinion on that. I’m not sure how informed someone like that would be; I don’t know how much Tom Petty listens to country music.
– – Eric Church, with the appropriate take on those Tom Petty remarks everyone was getting all riled up about a few weeks back.

The country format is more pop than pop was when I came up.
– – Sheryl Crow.

Follow Your Arrow is hands down people’s favourite off the record. It’s the one they instantly recognise or freak out about. Whether or not they like country music they seem to really like and relate to that song. But even with all of that, and country radio always looking for its next hit, they are still scared of it. Most radio programme directors that I talk to say, ‘That’s my favourite, I wish we could play it.’ I’m like, ‘Well then, f**king play it!’
– – Kacey Musgraves (to the British press, pip pip cheerio) on country radio’s unwillingness to come out in favor of racy, newfangled things like love, ancient herbs, and free will.

When I reference Randy Owen, I think of my mama. When I was 5 (years old), my mother was a 35-year-old Southern woman, and every 35-year-old Southern woman, all they wanted to do was jump Randy Owen’s bones. If I’m accomplishing that, that’s a good thing. That’s cool.
– – Luke Bryan wants to make you want to jump his bones.

There was no Selena Gomez, but much in the way teen idols build their following singing covers and have celebrities sing with them, Bryan brought opening act Florida Georgia Line on stage to sing Maroon 5’s “One More Night” with him, then added supporting act Thompson Square to sing Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.” On “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” which opened the encore, he sang a snippet of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”
– – What you’re missing when you miss a Luke Bryan show.

People get thrown off by the rapping we do, but I usually tell people “it’s all about your delivery. If we delivered it a different way, it would be traditional country.” Then, I tell them, “Johnny Cash had a song called ‘I’ve Been Everywhere,’ where he pretty much rapped the whole song.”
– – So, Clay Sharpe of The LACS only knows “I’ve Been Everywhere” as a Choice Hotels jingle. Not the firmest foundation on which to build a quasi-historical justification for crappy music.

There’s a lot of choice. It’s overwhelming, and it’s overwhelming trying to pinpoint who to go with on this project, because it will determine a lot of the direction, and I’m committing myself. It’s that fear of committing myself once and for all and locking myself in. That’s what scares me the most, really. And I’ve had a lot of fun just being creative with it and just floating around, changing my mind. And that’s part of the whole thing of being creative — until you commit, you can change your mind and rewrite it and create a new melody and change the story. And at some point that’s got to end. And that is the point when you actually make the records. So letting go of that phase of it is probably my biggest hesitation.
– – Shania Twain on picking a producer for her long-discussed fifth album.

I’m finding that I can do things a whole lot cheaper than the [major] record labels and have the same quality, if not better. But for just a fraction of the cost. Because record labels are kinda like the government, you know? The government spends tens of thousands of dollars for a toilet seat that you could buy at WalMart for $19.99.
– – Tens of thousands of dollars for a toilet seat? Travis Tritt gets a little hyperbolic.

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    • Sabra says

      Yeah, but he’s right. He must be around my age (I’m 34), because I remember my mom being just as crazy over Randy Owen when I was little. And my Facebook feed certainly indicates he’s a sex symbol for suburban moms of a certain age. The key difference is Randy Owen’s sex appeal (gag) was second to his musical appeal, and I have yet to see anyone talking about how much she loves Bryan’s music.

  1. KC says

    I think Kacey Musgraves has a good point that radio should just play the song if they like it and stop worrying about controversy. It’s ridiculous that “Follow Your Arrow” could be considered controversial when there are already hit songs celebrating drunk driving. They could at least play the song and see what happens. Otherwise they are just being offended on behalf of someone else who might have no objection to the song.

  2. william says

    Gretchen Peters is a songwriting genius. Five Minutes is a slice of life that you see everyday outside diners, dollar stores, all of a sudden you see these ladies smoking and it changes you and the way see them and your own life. So Powerful. Love it and every song on her HXW album. The way songs should be.

  3. says

    I agree that that Luke Bryan quote is disturbing. Ick.

    Yes, while I agree with Dale Watson’s larger point, I too doubt that people like Rascal Flatts are citing George Jones as influences.

  4. says

    Eric Church seems to be implying that if Tom Petty doesn’t listen to much country music then his opinion shouldn’t be taken seriously. While I might agree with that, such reasoning raises the question: Why should anyone give a damn what Eric Church thinks, considering that he didn’t listen to country music when he was growing up?


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