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What I don’t understand in this democratic country, how we have such a layered, almost caste system, of musicians. Here’s Bob Dylan and he is the greatest and when we’re all dead and gone and they’re looking back at us 400 years from now, they can look at Bob and say he was the Shakespeare of songwriters, and I would agree. But the fact is, you’ve got somebody like James McMurtry playing down at the Continental at midnight on a Wednesday and it’s full, but there’s only 200 people when there should be 200,000 people listening to James. And then my friends Todd Snider and Greg Brown. There are people out there that are flat out geniuses that have a very limited audience and I flat out blame it on the music industry. ●
- – Robert Earl Keen.
I think there were hits on the last record and the one before that. But the way that life works, I don’t know that it would’ve mattered what I’d done in that period of time. [...] The only thing that’s slightly frustrating is I feel like some of my best work is not being noticed as much. It’s disappointing, but it doesn’t rob me of the joy of making the music one ounce. And I feel like if I make a record that sells 20 million copies or 20 copies, no note has changed because of it. ●
- – Vince Gill thinks he’s on a creative upswing without the hits or record sales to match.
I love Lori McKenna and I think her album Lorraine is my favorite of the year. ●
- – Hopefully Taylor Swift just sold Lori McKenna a few thousand albums.
In Summer Rental, the one-hour, 10-episode series follows a real-life, naturally-entertaining family, born and raised in the South, as they embark on a “fish out of water” experience by visiting a fancy beach rental in the Hamptons for the summer, indulging in the high-end lifestyle of the Upper East Coast and bringing their Southern flair to any situation. ●
- – In lieu of, you know, showing actual music videos featuring actual country music, CMT is developing some Beverly Hillbillies-inspired reality shows. God help us.
But on the emotional, contemplative songs, Jones rises into the ether and leaves us all wondering how a man can conjure such depth of feeling. “I’ve Aged Twenty Years in Five,” “A Good Year for the Roses,” “The Grand Tour” and, of course, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” are absolute marvels. They’d serve as lessons in singing, except these lessons can’t really be learned. We just can’t sing like that. But we don’t have to, because Jones already did. ●
- – Peter Cooper has a lovely column on George Jones somehow (thankfully) making it to 80.
All I can say to other artists in terms of a long career is to do the music you love. Singing for me is a way of life — it is something I love to do, but only if I love the music. If you sing songs you love, people know it and know that you are being honest with them. If you compromise too much and sing what you don’t believe, the fans feel betrayed and they know the difference. Be yourself and sing what you love. ●
- – Words of wisdom from the birthday boy.
I’m not a big tweeter. I’m starting. If I have a tweet, I have to call it in because they’re scared I’m gonna drunk tweet. I have a pretty big sense of humor, so I’d hate to go sending something I think is funny and the whole world thinks, ‘Oh my goodness.’ So yeah, all my tweets are still screened, but they are me! ●
- – I shudder to think of what those unfiltered Bucky Covington tweets would look like.
But Kenny and I are swapping songs, swapping ideas, so I would say it’s inevitable it’s coming. And It’s not like people can pitch you songs for a Big & Rich record; our music is not like anybody else’s stuff. It really is a meeting of the minds between me and Kenny, so it’s just a process. But we’re pumped about it, I can tell you that. ●
- – John Rich says a new Big & Rich album is inevitable. Sounds like a threat to me.
It’s been tough for me these past couple of years, I haven’t had a girlfriend in three or four years now, so I guess you could say I’ve had trouble with girls … But the song’s not necessarily about that kind of trouble with girls. It’s more of a sweet song, talking about how pretty [they are] and all kinds of good things about the girls. ●
- – Scotty McCreery hasn’t had a girlfriend since he was 13 or 14, which means… he hasn’t had a girlfriend ever in any way that should matter to the adults fawning over him, right?
Q: Since you are young, is it difficult or weird to sing love songs, or is love something you’ve experienced?
A: Well, I’ve had crushes and stuff, so I don’t really mind singing about it. ●
- – Lauren Alaina can match his inexperience note for note.
I try to stay out of Miranda’s music as much as I can. Even with her ‘Revolution’ album, I had like three songs on there that I co-wrote with her. I don’t like that, I’m going to be honest with you. There have been a lot of times where she’ll be writing a song and she’ll say, ‘Help me with this … write it with me.’ I think she writes so much better by herself … I really do. Some of her best work is just her [with] one name on the song: hers. I try to stay out of it as much as I can. ●
- – Blake Shelton thinks Miranda does best when left to her own devices. Blake Shelton is right.
Nobody in rural south Georgia in the ’50s wants to hear show tunes. They’re not living that life, they’re not having martinis, that’s not what they’re dealing with. There’s no time for bullshit and the ribbons and bows. People are dealing with heartache, and cheatin’, and drinkin’, and dysfunctional f–ked up family, and music helps them deal with it. It helps. I really believe strongly in the medicinal power of it. ●
- – Elizabeth Cook on music about real rural life.
You always want more and more people to get what you’re doing and try to stand out. That’s what this whole record is about. That’s why I went to Average Joe’s, you know? To show the rest of the world that this isn’t just regional music. There are country people and rednecks everywhere. They ain’t just in Texas or in the southeast. There are country people that like pickup trucks and beer drinking and hell raisin’ everywhere … even in New York City. You just have to take your music to them. ●
- – Kevin Fowler on taking
his stereotypes his act nationwide.
At the time, if it wasn’t hard-core country, I wouldn’t have nothing to do with it. All my old stuff was just pure. I said, ‘I love country music so much I don’t want it to go away. I love the tradition.’ And she said, ‘Do you love Willie and Waylon? When they came out, they were progressive. A lot of people hated them, just hated the outlaw movement.’ [...] I thought, Willie and Waylon are special because they are who they are. Why am I trying to be George Strait or anybody else? I’ve got to be who I am or people will see right through it. ●
- – Jerrod Niemann on deciding to be himself… a transition marked, in wholly unoriginal fashion, by the disappearance of the cowboy hat he wore in early promotional shots. See also: Rodney Atkins, Blake Shelton, Chris Young.
I never understood when my friends would have a rock band, and they’d be like, “We’re emo-punk-rock.” I’m like, “No, you’re rock.” You don’t have to make it some weird title to be cool. To me, country is what’s cool — just straight-up country music. And that’s what my music is, is country music. I don’t care what people call it, as long as they know that it’s country. ●
- – Sunny Sweeney thinks country is cool enough.
The first thing I learned about Waylon was that he was Buddy Holly’s bass player. The second thing I learned about Waylon was he was the guy on the “Dukes of Hazzard.” That’s all I needed to know. ●
- – Jamey Johnson.
Happy birthday, Possum.