Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
For some expectant moms, the concept of “eating for two” can result in too much. Twice the French fries, twice the bacon, twice the Oreos. (My rationale for that was that the more Oreos I ate, the more milk I drank.) But Underwood will most likely stick with her vegetarian diet the whole time. ●
— Alison Bonaguro on the long-awaited (by Alison Bonaguro) pregnancy of Carrie Underwood.
The problem with country music today is not the critics. The problem with country music today is there are no critics. There’s no Chet Flippo. There’s no Lester Bangs. There’s nobody from a major music publication willing to speak out and hold these artist’s feet to the fire, and to give them objective, honest criticism. And so when somebody does, these artists and their fans are appalled. Either you’re 100% positive, or you’re a bully, and there should probably be a law against you. […] The entire country music media community has simply become a promotional arm for the industry. The media publishes puff pieces that are nothing more than thinly veiled advertising copy, and the labels in turn advertise with these outlets. Everyone else is simply “haters” who are on the outside looking in when it comes to exclusive content and access to the artists. ●
— Saving Country Music, in a piece on Brad Paisley’s inability to take criticism.
Well, you know what, back in the 90’s, I used to send Harlan Howard a crisp $100 bill every January 1 for everything I was going to steal. It was a running joke with us. I did that for years. He would call us younger guys juveniles and he’d say, “The juvenile era has an account with me.” ●
— Marty Stuart, in a fine American Songwriter Q&A.
He was verbally economic. He didn’t use a lot of words. He took great care in saying the right ones. I don’t know if you saw the liner notes, but his little quote from our songwriting seminar down there will stick with me forever. Somebody asked him what he thought was the secret to songwriting and he just said, “Say what needs saying and then try not to say anything else.” ●
— Mac McAnally on Jesse Winchester, whose final album he produced. That album, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble, comes out next week.
I’m just a musician and a singer on it, but I love it so much that I’ve got to tout it. She was at the end of her deal with Universal and they were sort of giving her the A&R, “You should match this, you should match this,” and she said, “No, it’s my last album, and if I’m going down I’m going to go down singing good songs and giving it everything I’ve got,” and that’s kind of what we did. It’s a fine piece of work. ●
— Mac McAnally on Lee Ann Womack’s The Way I’m Livin’, out September 23.
“You know, it just kind of peeves me that they don’t pay attention to older artists these days, especially on the radio. It’s never been that way before. The whole business has changed to all these young people, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just how it is. It seems like [the artists] are 15 and 16 years old and they’ve already waited too long to have a hit song,” he adds, laughing slightly. “A lot of art gets lost when you don’t play older artists. It’s like tearing down the Mona Lisa.” ●
— Billy Joe Shaver to Country Weekly.
Jennings and Nelson always had a brotherly but competitive relationship. “I think Waylon was jealous of Willie,” says Haggard. Jennings took a shot at Nelson with his 1975 song “Bob Wills Is Still the King” and suspected that Nelson treated him unfairly when it came to money. (“I’ve had to start my life over several times because of him,” Jennings wrote in 1996.) At one point in the Nineties, Jennings was playing with just a backing track and ripping into Nelson onstage. “He dissed him pretty bad,” says Shooter, “saying Willie had these guys working for him who were shysters.” Shooter says he went to go see Nelson backstage at a show shortly before his father’s death. “He asked me, ‘How’s he doing?’ I said, ‘He’s hanging in there.’ And he said, ‘Well, tell him to come out and do some shows with me. I’ll write him a bad check.'” ●
— From a great Willie Nelson profile in Rolling Stone.
Sometimes after the percolation process, the actual song will start with a guitar chord progression or a riff or a line or a title. Sometimes the chorus will come first. Sometimes it’s literally like my antenna is picking up a song from somewhere in space. I just try to write it down as fast as I can before it’s gone. At times this happens without me even having a guitar or instrument to play until after the song is written and I then have to learn how to play it. I wrote for years before learning how to play guitar and it actually took me a long time to play well enough for it to not limit what I wrote. ●
— Patterson Hood on songwriting.
“I’m not downplaying that. I’ve made a good living and a good career out of doing songs like ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night,'” says the country star, who nonetheless hopes to refocus on songs that amplify his artistic integrity. “I take a lot of pride in being a pretty good singer, and songs like ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ and ‘Beachin’,’ where I’m kind of just talking, don’t showcase that. For the first time in my career, I feel like it’s imperative for me to put out a song that offers some validity.” ●
— Jake Owen on taking a more serious, artistic turn with “What We Ain’t Got.”
I was reading Country Weekly magazine. There was a feature on Dierks Bentley, and it said his favorite place to eat in Nashville was Arnold’s Country Kitchen. I had never been to Nashville, let alone Arnold’s, and I was like, ‘Damn, that food looks good.’ I just remember thinking, ‘It is time. I need to go try this food and try my hand at making it in the industry.’ ●
— Canaan Smith was brought to Nashville by pictures of food.
Brooks took the stage at 8:30 p.m. in Wrangler jeans, a gray plaid shirt, black cowboy hat and boots with his seven-man band backing him like they’d never stopped. He opened with “Man Against Machine,” a new song from his upcoming album. ●
— Garth Brooks launched his first concert back with a new song called “Man Against Machine” because of course. By the way, if you are a man thinking of facing off against the machine, it helps if you’re already a millionaire/machine yourself.
In the ‘90s everything was covered up in reverb. I call it confidence. So if I’m in the studio, I’m like, ‘Can you turn my confidence button up a little bit?’ ●
— Trisha Yearwood.
The songs were such great lessons in why it’s important to write with originality and to keep things simple and detailed in a way that they can become universal. It sounds counterproductive, but in a way, the more specific and simple you get, the more the songs can apply to everyone. ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ for example. I don’t know who Eleanor Rigby was. She’s a figment of somebody’s imagination, but everybody has felt lonely like the way the story of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ tells you. ●
— Charlie Worsham on the Beatles.
Oh, man. I have friends that have their different strengths as songwriters. She’s one of those people that can make the most mundane thing sound completely beautiful and poetic, and she does it without even thinking about it. It’s like her second language is English. Her first language is songwriting. I think Walt Wilkins is like that, as well, but I think people like that are few and far between. There are people who, just by being around them, can draw stuff out. She’s tuned into something that the rest of us aren’t. ●
— Drew Kennedy on Lori McKenna. Kennedy’s new live album is Sad Songs Happily Played.
If somebody turned on a pop station and heard the ‘Drink to That All Night’ remix, then maybe looked into what I have out at the time, you know, I put out ‘Donkey’ and they hear the George Jones reference and maybe they download ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ then you know, whether people like it or not, I’ve done my job. We have a new country fan.
So, it’s debatable. Not all of us are supposed to sit in the nucleus of country music and do our thing. Some of us are sort of in the field, out in the trenches dragging people into it, trying to be the gateway drug into country music where we can try to drag ‘em into the Jamey Johnson world or other things like that. Not everybody’s proud of what you seat you sit in at the table as fans, but I’m happy right where I’m at. ●
— Jerrod Niemann has deluded himself into thinking that the “Drink to That All Night” remix featuring Pitbull could be a gateway drug to “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
No, [‘Burnin’ It Down’] is not Hank Williams Sr. or George Jones, but this also isn’t the Sixties and the Seventies. ●
— Jason Aldean says you shouldn’t really even EXPECT modern country music to sound like all those classic songs Hank Williams Sr. was recording in the ’60s and ’70s. You know the ones.
The cool part is that it needed to change and stretch out in that direction (toward urban). Now, it’s going to come back to the center. I think it was cool to head that way. I have nothing negative to say about urban. I think (country) is going to be better for it. […] We went for a sound in the last five years and probably lost a little in the lyrics … 70 percent of it is too rough. I’d say only 30 percent of it is stuff you’ll want to hear 10 years from now. I think you’re going to see room now for some really solid country artists. ●
— Clay Walker on trends in modern country music.
Q: You guys have been around for 14 years. What is the key to success?
A: The key to our success is to, when you come to a Rascal Flatts show, make sure you schedule your c-sections around our tour dates so that way we can keep the next generation flowing in and out of this thing. ●
— Gary LeVox, creepy as ever.