Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
I’ve never made music quite like this in the studio where I felt like this is the best music I’ve ever made. ●
— Brett Eldredge on his second album, not saying much for his first.
It needs a melody. It needs a melody real bad. Not sure what they’ll have to remember. A song is defined as words put to music, but I don’t hear any music. All I hear is the same band, the same sound, and everybody screaming to the ceiling.
You stand off at a distance and you couldn’t tell who they are. They are all screaming for one note they can barely get. I don’t find it very entertaining. I wish I did. ●
— Merle Haggard on today’s country music.
You’re talking like 10 to 15 songs a week for a couple of years. Maybe more than that. I was turning in 100 songs a year, I’ve never turned in less than 30 songs a year. Maybe it’s a thousand songs I’ve written. ●
— Lee Brice. I must admit I was surprised to learn that he could write 100 songs per year at a pace of 10 to 15 songs per week.
When you have songs that have so much polarity, where people either love them or hate them, the people that love them will kill for you over them, and the people that hate them will tolerate you until the next thing you do that they love. ●
— Luke Bryan, actually sounding pretty savvy. Now, as for making those songs I’ll love…
The people I want to appeal to, they’re not coming to analyze it from top to bottom. They have to analyze their daily life. Every day. From the time their alarm clock goes off until the time they go to bed; they want to go to my show and not analyze anything, and not overthink. They just want to hop on the ride and leave and go, “That was a blast.” That’s how you have to take “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Kick the Dust Up,” “Rain Is a Good Thing.” That’s your moment to look for your beer under your seat and drink it and dance with whoever you came with. ●
— Luke Bryan knows his audience.
Anyone that has ever been remotely successful has been hated and loved. The last thing I want to do is put a song (or a record) out there that is safe. ●
— Thomas Rhett, who took a big chance by copping the style of a little-known, unproven artist named Bruno Mars. Oh, wait…
You don’t wanna follow the trend. You wanna do something different that everybody reacts to, because that’s kind of a habit of Nashville: If something hits big like Florida Georgia Line, then they all go out and try to find the next Florida Georgia Line. It’s just whatever’s selling they chase, and I think that’s always a mistake to try to do what other people did. I always try to stay out in the front so that they’re trying to do what you did. ●
— Gary Allan.
And when you listen to an artist – 10 or 15 years, 30 years – of an artist’s career, you really get a great peek at their life. You know, in that time and what’s going on and what they write about and sing about. I think for me, there’s been a lot of maturity in the last five years, you know? ●
— Eric Church is purportedly growing up before our eyes.
Do I think I’m striking some kind of blow against the system? No, not at all. Do I think I’m doing what is hopefully authentic to me and things I like to do? Yes. […] Music is not a game to me. I take it very seriously. I don’t know if we’re competing. I don’t look at it that way. To some degree, you’re competing for people to want to buy your music, but that’s where it ends for me. As long as people are buying music, it’s good for everybody. ●
— Chris Stapleton on being a surprise CMA contender.
Of course it’s nice to have people pat you on the back and say, ‘Job well done.’ We’re the little engine that could this year. ●
— Lee Ann Womack, indie artist, on her own surprise CMA nominations.
He has no fear sonically to try something crazy. One of the songs on the record we did outside. I’ve never recorded anything outside in my life. He’s very intuitive, he’s very experimental, and he’s everything you want in a producer for me. He has the skill and the talent and the lack of fear. He’s just trying to make that record what it should be. ●
— Chris Stapleton on Dave Cobb, his Traveller producer.
It’s always about finding a song that really touches my heart, that makes me feel happy or sad or touches on a big emotion of some kind. Those are the songs I choose, the ones that I respond to as someone who not only makes music, but truly loves music. I want songs that move me because when I sing them, I can truly mean them and I think that touches other people too. ●
— Reba McEntire.
When I was 18 and being signed, I asked myself why the best novelists write their best work in their 50s and why do songwriters write their best in their 20s. I thought it was lifestyle. I thought it was fame. That’s why I never tried to surround myself with cronies. I tried to never do anything by the book or idolize fame or keep the momentum going if it didn’t serve me as a writer. It’s taken me on a hell of a journey. ●
— Jewel, whose new album Picking Up the Pieces is apparently a return to the style of her first.
Actually, Tae and I are completely comfortable with being labeled as feminists because feminism actually means someone who believes in equality for men and women. For some reason there’s a stigma with feminism, saying, “Oh, we hate men.” But it’s not that. It’s not that at all. It’s just saying, “Hey, women deserve the opportunities that men have, and vice versa. Men deserve the opportunities that women have.” We’re totally comfortable with saying that, and speaking out for women and men. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to give people a voice. ●
— Maddie & Tae’s Maddie Marlow, exhibiting a grasp of (and willingness to openly embrace) feminism somehow rare among country singers.
I feel like a lot of times female singers, to me, when they’re singing – and I’ll probably kick myself for saying this – a lot of times, it just seems like I can’t distinguish one from the other sometimes if I just listen to them, you know? A lot of times they just sound really similar to me. ●
— Jason Aldean, lacking all self-awareness, to the Washington Post’s Emily Yahr.
I grew up in the South and lived there until I was 50 and I know that I’m not the only Southerner who never believed for one second that the Confederate battle flag is symbolic of anything but racism in anything like a modern context. ●
— Steve Earle doesn’t mince words.
I still catch myself breaking out in a sweat when I sing that song. I was so angered. I was just so angered by the coward of the attacks. ●
— Darryl Worley, still angered beyond all grammatical correctness, on “Have You Forgotten?”
We don’t have any plans of retirement, that’s for sure. B.B. King, he was working until he passed away. And I see Tony Bennett out there, and Willie Nelson comes to mind, and I think, “Why not?” As long as you stay healthy and pay attention, there’s no reason that you can’t be doing this. We wouldn’t be retiring from this life of drudgery. We get to do this. ●
— The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna, as the band prepares to celebrate 50 years.
I don’t belong in country music. It’s kind of like gentrification. What happens is you have neighborhoods in every town that you consider it poor. People live there forever and then somebody builds a Starbucks and it ruins the neighborhood. Rich people move in and make these sidewalk diners, and tax values go up. And we can’t afford to be there anymore. ●
— Dale Watson with the ‘country is like gentrification’ analogy we needed.
The best songwriters and best musicians in the world live in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, that whole thing is a business plan. Music is made, but it’s like a sweatshop. We’re definitely passion based, and a song is very important to me. I’m very glad that the Texas music scene has embraced us. ●
— William Clark Green, whose latest album is Ringling Road.
They’re not sitting on their back porch trying to write a No. 1 hit for commercial radio; they’re trying to tell a story through music in the best way they can. That’s an important distinction because people always try to compare it to country. It has nothing to do with country. It has everything to do with art, and the art of making music. ●
— Jed Hilly on the Americana difference. Then again, he could be biased.
The key is our voices together, that’s what gets it done. We both have unique voices and they serve a purpose, but neither one of us are as strong by ourselves. Two other people can’t make that sound, so I think that’s why God put us together and gave us a path to take. ●
— Tyler Hubbard, reiterating that Florida Georgia Line is a gift from God.
I’m not sure what the future holds to be honest. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. ●
— Don Williams, spiritual guru.