Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
Not “no,” but hell no. ●
— Alabama’s Jeff Cook on whether he’s in touch with former Alabama drummer Mark Herndon.
I hope some of these new young rock ‘n’ roll country guys enjoy themselves… I’m not trying to knock them, but if some of that’s country music, then I’m a Chinaman. ●
— Ho-kay, you guys? Johnny Lee (“Looking For Love,” remember?) just called out modern country by referring to Chinamen. Chinamen. No kidding. Good thing it’s still the 1920s!
From then on I just tried to write poems. And then poems aren’t cool at some point in time, but if you have a guitar, they are cool. ●
— The Turnpike Troubadours’ Evan Felker. New album is Turnpike Troubadours.
There’s a whole lot of talking that goes on about how much… I don’t know, when I talk about how I don’t like music that’s coming out of Nashville—mainstream country—it’s just to make myself feel big and I don’t think that that’s cool, so I just don’t talk about it, because it’s not going to help me be a better songwriter, bitching about somebody, you know. ●
— Evan Felker again. Different interview.
It’s totally heartbreaking but you don’t want to stop listening to it. Oh God, it just makes you want to crawl into a hole. It has that combination of making you feel good and bad at the same time, which is what all great country music does. ●
— Kasey Chambers on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Our friendship really started when we did the Zaxby’s commercial and we were at Tyler Hubbard’s wedding. We kind of realized that we had a lot of the same friends. And my wife loves him, and you can’t deny that Brett is just the most ultimate dude in the world. ●
— Thomas Rhett on Brett Eldredge, in some alternate universe where friendship with Florida Georgia Line and being “the most ultimate dude” make you cool.
I think that’s what Nashville still offers. They’ve got great songs and these great artists that can sing the phonebook, and that’s why they’re selling out stadiums. ●
— Alabama’s Randy Owen on modern country.
This song is not a Jesus song. It’s not. I know there have already been some people who have had a little bit of a kickback on it, but you know what? They better be watching out for lightning. ●
— Scott Hendricks says “Real Men Love Jesus” is not a Jesus song, but is some other sort of song that Jesus has enough of a vested interest in to strike people with lightning bolts over. Argued with all the skill you’d expect of Blake Shelton’s longtime producer.
“We have a big stack of songs that no one would touch because this artist that we made up is this 40-year-old lesbian,” he said, as they both broke down laughing. “Thank God Brandy ended up making a record.” ●
— Shane McAnally (interviewed alongside Brandy Clark) on the years of practice writing for a character that prepared them to work on “Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical.”
Any act that can cover TLC’s “No Scrubs” and bring her new puppy out onstage isn’t taking herself too seriously. And that’s what fans hoping for a liberal savior are missing in Musgraves. Country music has old structures and tropes — small-town virtue, allegiance to family, humility and humor. But subverting expectations is just as traditional, just like Musgraves’ idols Parton and Loretta Lynn have done for decades. ●
— From a Los Angeles Times review of a Kacey Musgraves show.
The Zac Brown Band. I think they’re awesome. They play great, sing great, their songs are great. That “Jekyll and Hyde” album is one of the best pieces of work ever. ●
— Oak Ridge Boy Joe Bonsall, exhibiting inexplicable taste.
I’ve been making some more electronic music, which I really enjoy doing. I don’t ever want to stop making country, and I don’t want to stop making electronic music, either. We had something like a nine-week Number One with a rock song [“Heavy Is the Head”], and that’s amazing to me. It just makes me want to create another batch of music just like Jekyll + Hyde. If people like our older stuff, there’s at least eight or nine songs on there — a full record worth of songs — that they can listen to. I hope people think of it that way rather than, “This whole album isn’t country, I’m giving it one star.” ●
— Zac Brown on expanding his sonic palette.
So I don’t always like walking down the street and making sure that I smile and say hello to everybody who’s walking their dog in the opposite direction. But I do do it. And it’s a small, tiny thing to do. But to me, it means ‘I see you. You’re not invisible to me.’ And it makes a difference. It makes a difference to see your world, look who’s in it. And try not to turn away from what makes you uncomfortable. ●
— Patty Griffin on staying connected despite her extreme shyness.
I think it really depends on the song, but I have found myself becoming more minimal the older I get. I like leave it to where you don’t tell everything that happens. Space has a lot to do with it. I came to the realization several years back that growing up in the dusty plains in Lubbock, I’ve always tried to fill in the empty stuff. A song can help fill it in but still let the wind blow. That’s an abstract thing, but you have to be there to feel that. There’s a lot of horizon out there. ●
— Joe Ely on songwriting. His new album is Panhandle Rambler.
I go see [John] Prine play — we’ve got some shows coming up with him, and we’ve done a lot in the past — and I see how his audience reacts, and it’s a beautiful thing. They know who he is. And they understand his wit, they understand his humor, what he says between songs, he doesn’t have to feel pressured to get to the next song. He can take his time and really possess the room with his own personality, and people are ready for that. He doesn’t have to have a drummer up there with him. He can play with three or four guys and really work people up into a frenzy just over the strength of his songs, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That’s so much better than every time you make a record you’re feeling pressure of what’s popular then, and you’re trying to keep up. I think if you just be honest and try to make quality music for as long as possible, then you’ll wind up with [fans] who expect you to be yourself more than anything else. ●
— Jason Isbell, who also talks about the magic of “Hello in There” later in the interview.
I don’t think they’re interested in artists like us. I don’t think that they — and by “they,” I mean music executives in the pop-country world, who are at big labels trying to figure out how to sell large numbers of records, or radio programmers, or radio consultants, whatever in the hell that is, I don’t know why we need that — but I don’t think they pay any attention to us. I think that’s a big part of the reason why their towers are crumbling at this point, because they don’t look outside their bottom line and they’ve spent so many years ignoring what we were doing on the fringes, and now the fringes are becoming the material in the middle. We’re getting popular enough where we’re taking some of those sales away from those folks. Not a lot of ‘em yet, but it’ll get bigger. It’ll change more in the next few years. ●
— Jason Isbell again. Same interview with Nashville Scene’s Adam Gold. Go read it.
I said, ‘They’re gonna eat it up. You’re gonna go out there and kill it. I’ve seen ’em, I’ve seen the crowd. You’re gonna slay ’em all, and you owe me your first gold album.’ I said it in passing, but like two months later—it wasn’t long—we were playing a show with her and she walked up on the bus and had a gold album for me, signed to me. I still have it. It says, ‘Eric, Thanks for playing too long and too loud on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it. —Taylor’ ●
— Eric Church on being replaced by Taylor Swift on that one Rascal Flatts tour.
I would consider myself just an amazing artist that has reach in country music and Americana… but I like all music. ●
— Sarah Darling. I don’t know a lot about what happens in media training, but I can only imagine that describing oneself as “an amazing artist” is generally discouraged.
There’s one thing I’ve learned: Good music does work. It takes longer and it’s a harder fight, but it does work. ●
— Lee Ann Womack to The Tennessean’s Juli Thanki.