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Making the second record, when I said there are songs that didn’t feel like me, a lot of that stuff was happening because I couldn’t get my hand in that jar. Now that I’m producing myself, I am the jar, so it has to go through me now. I like being in control. ●
- – Bucky Covington’s motivational life philosophy: Be the jar. Not sure I see that one catching on, but whatever works…
I feel like I had a great ride when I got to [experience mainstream success]. Allen Reynolds produced my early records and he would say, “Just find a great song, pal. It’s about a great song sung honestly and well-framed. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s about anything else.” I got this lovely ride through the middle of commercial music with songs that were mostly about true stories and framed simply and comfortably.
In many ways, this [Appalachian roots] music is very similar. I’ve found that if I can stay connected to the music, then I get led where I’m supposed to go. If I connect to it, there are other people that will connect to it. At the end of the day, that’s always been my goal, to make some connection through music. ●
- – Kathy Mattea (in conversation with Juli Thanki) says success in the mainstream and success in roots music really boil down to the same thing.
The older I get, the more I think, ‘Well, it’s just a completely different job.’ I mean, you can’t compare what Gillian Welch is doing to what Carrie Underwood’s doing. They’re not trying to do the same thing at all. So I can’t really say, ‘Well, this has more value than that.’ To me, you know, what Gill’s doing has more value, but that’s just a personal opinion. ●
- – Jason Isbell (in conversation with Jewly Hight) offers a different perspective.
I’m writing like crazy right now because the Pistol Annies are making a new record. The last week of November we’re going into the studio for our new album for next spring. After that I’ll start really focusing on my own record. ●
- – Miranda Lambert with a Pistol Annies update. New music by next spring?!
It’s best to forget about rules when it comes to songwriting. As soon as someone says, ‘Well, this is the way you do it,’ someone will write a song that defies everything and breaks every rule and has pure expression in it. If you have a burst of inspiration, that’s the best thing. ●
- – Keith Urban on songwriting.
I live way out in the country. I have 40 acres of land, a horse. I don’t play all day, I don’t have four wheelers. If the yard needs mowing, I mow the yard. Trash needs hauling, I do it. I have a barn I’m finishing up. We heat with wood, as much as we can. I make sure bills are paid and get the kids where they need to be. All summer long, I was at the ballpark every Monday and Thursday night, because I had three kids playing all on different teams. ●
- – No mudding or bikini girls dancing on tailgates? Chris Knight completely missed the memo on what country living is supposed to be about. Can we have Luke Bryan give him a call or something?
There was a time early on in our career where we were too rock for country and too country for rock. We were in this area where we didn’t really know where we belonged. Make no mistake: I grew up on country music, and I can do you every [Kris] Kristofferson, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, all the way through the years, and I can even go into modern country. ●
- – Word to the wise, Eric Church. Don’t use the “I can do you every ____” cred-booster unless you actually can. I’d guess Merle Haggard can’t even do you every Merle Haggard song. Not from memory, anyway. That’s what happens when you have 76 studio albums to your name.
I fought so hard in the beginning, when I was making the records for Reprise, to be considered a country artist. I felt so strongly about it, I suppose, because I had dismissed it in the beginning. I was so passionate about it. Now, I don’t really care. I did my work carrying the flag for country music. Then, I’ve landed in this place out in left field where I really belong. I have such a deep love of real country music. I have a hard time finding it right now. But I do believe in the creative process. Every generation has to reinvent itself stylistically. So, I think the jury is still out. There is certainly some great music out there, but I still prefer to listen to Merle Haggard if I want a real 110-proof dose of country music. ●
- – Emmylou Harris.
Brother of Country Music Star Randy Travis Arrested for Meth ●
- – Family troubles…
It’s going to be a real hill record, you know. It’s going to be real country. I mean, I’m already as country as cornbread. But he wants to do the real old hill records; the kind of stuff I heard when I was a little girl. There wasn’t no country music before that. I think the Carters was the first. ●
- – Loretta Lynn on her upcoming album with T-Bone Burnett.
I think if you live right, good things happen. I don’t really see that as any mystical or magical reason, but if you make good decisions, life goes better, you know? ●
- – Jason Isbell makes sense.
Here’s a terrific Oxford American feature on Bill C. Malone, author of the definitive 1968 book Country Music, U.S.A. and the guy who put country music scholarship on the map.