Quotable Country – 09/08/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

I still wanna pound Shania Twain.
– – Charming, Billy Currington.

But I keep an eye on it, maybe because of the early influences around me in the form of Guy Clark, Micky Newbury and Townes Van Zandt. These were poets. (So) I don’t really invite myself to take full ownership of what I’ve accomplished because the carrot is still way out there in front of me. I can barely see the carrot. I like it that way because it seems to me that if I ever had any self-satisfaction that would be the kiss of death for the artist’s life that I want to lead and that I love to lead.
– – Rodney Crowell on staying modest.

When we became a video culture, some of the artists who have come along, instead of hiding under the covers in their bed trying to stay up past their bedtime to listen to Johnny Cash on the radio or a Hank Williams song that creates a landscape in your mind that you might want to create someday, I think television and videos robbed those artists of that imaginary landscape of music.
I’ve had that experience where I’m collaborating with somebody who is up and coming, and get a verse and half a chorus going, and they are saying ‘I can see the video.’
I want to see the end of the song. I want the song to tell us what it’s going to be.
– – Rodney Crowell again.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t call writing-about-music “journalism.” It’s not like I’m embedded in a war zone or doing anything particularly difficult or unpleasant. Though there was that one time I sat through an entire Dave Matthews Band show.
– – Peter Cooper, whose new album Opening Day is out Tuesday.

I can’t think of instances where anyone wanted to be called “Americana,” and was told, “No, you don’t have that classic Americana look and sound.” I think all you’ve got to do to be “Americana” is to say, “I’m Americana.” It’s like becoming a music manager. Just go to Sunset Grill at lunchtime and hand out a few cards that say you’re a music manager. Bingo, you’re in the business. The only thing that’ll get you fired from “Americana” is getting on contemporary country radio playlists.
– – Peter Cooper on the fluid boundaries of Americana.

I don’t think you can necessarily learn it. I can just do it. I didn’t have to learn it. I am one of the blessed few.
– – Carrie Underwood on yodeling.

Right now, it seems like it’s gone. It’s not that I’m against all that’s out there. There’s some good music, good songwriting and good artists out there, but there’s really no country stuff left.
It’s always been that constant pop-country battle. I don’t think it’s ever going to change. What makes me sad today is that I think the real country, real roots-y traditional stuff, may be gone. I don’t know if it’ll ever be back on mainstream radio. You can’t get it played anymore.
– – Alan Jackson, in widely-reported remarks to the Baltimore Sun.

Playing with one or two other people in quiet settings over the last couple of years — I really loved it probably more than anything else. When you’re playing you can hear absolutely every move a person makes and can react to it. No one has to hide or conceal themselves.
– – Robbie Fulks on rediscovering the joy of intimate performances.

At its most primal level, I’m a country, rock, folk, pop guy. Those four things are somewhere in everything I do in varying degrees, and this record is that presentation captured on one album.
– – If he had to strip it down to the essentials, Keith Urban would say his music is based in, uh, just about all of popular American music.

Everyone sticks to the same blueprint and the same sound and the same slickness and the same songs about tailgates and pickup trucks.
You don’t have to follow the same musical landscape when half the people who own country records also own heavy rock records and rap records. It’s like, ‘Why do you have to make everything sound like a Shania Twain record from the ’90s?’… You can just smell the hesitation in country music land. It’s gotta grow or else they are going to feel stifled.
– – Butch Walker, one of eight (8!) producers on the new Keith Urban album.

He asked me to play him a song, and I played him one of the first ones I recorded for what I thought was going to be this record. When I finished, he said, ‘That’s awfully tidy, isn’t it?’ That was not a compliment. It was kind of a love song, but it kind of didn’t say (anything) about love. Just because it’s clever, that doesn’t make it a song.
– – Brian Wright on playing an early Rattle Their Chains song for Guy Clark.

This tradition of talking in newspapers and magazines about work you’ve just done — I have to say I’m not sold on it. […] I mean, if I bought music based on the off-the-cuff remarks made by musicians to journalists, I think I would own three records. And two of them would be awful records.
I think if you’ve made a good and interesting record, it has a chance to connect with listeners in a way more powerful than words lined up on the spur of the moment in rational sentences, in response to questions from people who’ve never made a record. If you’ve made good music, why should you then go about explaining it? Nothing good can come from this.
– – Robbie Fulks on the tradition of doing press for new album releases.

Despite the downsides of the digital age, there’s a good chance that what we record is going to last for a really, really long time. Audiophile arguments aside, you better take your work seriously, because you may not be able to buy a mansion, but if you’re lucky enough to have grandchildren, those kids will have a pretty good idea what kind of person their grandfather or grandmother was through their songwriting. I think that’s a pretty heavy responsibility, and that’s what I think about every time I sit down to write a song.
– – Drew Kennedy (whose Wide Listener is out Tuesday) to Juli Thanki.

If you really want to define country music, I would define it by someone singing a song and a steel guitar. I think what has held the longest interest in the music are those two elements — a great song and the sound of the steel guitar.
– – Vince Gill to Jewly Hight.

For me it’s ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel.’ I wrote with Brett James for my album, and I knew that he’d written that one when I was going in to write, so I knew I was in the presence of greatness. I was like ‘I’m … not … worthy.’ That song is really just so special.
– – Lucy Hale to Alison Bonaguro on the best country song ever.

When I’m doing a record, I try hard to not listen to country music, especially the radio. I don’t want to be inspired by pop country. It’s important that these songs originate in my heart and aren’t inspired by the mainstream ways of doing things. Ninety percent of country music fans may love the new pop or rap country songs, and that’s OK. But I make music for that other 10 percent.
– – Aaron Watson.

I think that you have to take some of the trends that are around you — and I think country music is going through quite a trend right now — and you have to embrace what’s happening and learn how to — I don’t want to use the word adapt ‘cause I don’t think it’s that drastic — but I think you have to really see if that trend is solid. And if it is, you find which piece of it that you fit into.
– – Clay Walker on keeping up with the times.

Emmylou was a great role model for me. She was always strong and gorgeous, yet one of the guys, and she was her own entity but was also associated with Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark and John Prine. In recent years, her songwriting has just been astounding. She gives me and other women a lot of hope, and something to strive for.
– – Sheryl Crow to Peter Cooper. Feels Like Home is also out on Tuesday.

Country music legend Randy Travis is coming to The Ridgefield Playhouse tonight, September 7, at 8 p.m. in a concert that is sure to thrill country music fans.
– – If only. Crack reporting by Broadway World.

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  1. says

    That Billy Currington, he’s such a classy guy.

    I really hope that Butch Walker is not implying that Keith Urban is part of the solution to what ails country music, because really, Mr. Urban is just a different part of the problem.

    • Sabra says

      You don’t have to follow the same musical landscape when half the people who own country records also own heavy rock records and rap records.

      Sound familiar, Mr. I-Do-Too-Have-Eclectic-Tastes? He’s making music for you!

  2. Chris says


    Keith Urban is a huge part of the problem…his arguments have no validity and lend no justification to the garbage he cranks out

    I almost wanna smack Lucy Hale upside the head…I can’t articulate what ignorance her statement displays

    Vince Gill should be lauded for standing up to those freaks at the Westboro Baptist Church the way he did the other day

    Billy Currington is a pig

    Rodney Crowell should run for president

  3. Felipe says

    As bad as Lucy Hale is, I think she’s just kind of a hostage to today’s country music industry. I mean, she represents the generation who sees Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line and other as THE biggest country stars, so in this particular world created by today’s country radio and media, she really thinks she’s a true country artist.


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