Quotable Country – 09/23/12 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

How many country singers do you find that are from way up North? I’ll wait — go ahead. The thing is, if you had a guy from the city singing about pickup trucks, hunting and fishing, whatever, that’s like me singing about being a stockbroker. I sing songs I can relate to.
- – Jason Aldean on why so many country hits celebrate superficial aspects of rural life… versus the stockbroking lifestyle maintained by everyone outside of the Deep South. Shouldn’t a guy who travels for a living know better?

I’m kind of cursed with chronic inquisitiveness. So I read a lot, and I’m interested in a lot of things and I end up just writing about whatever I’m into.
- – Well-read and inquisitive? No wonder Corb Lund doesn’t fit in on mainstream radio.

My early memories, even when we moved to Columbus when I was a kid, are hearing records and listening to radio and looking west and saying ‘I’ve got to go there.’ In that interview I did with Merle, he said: ‘Dwight, country music in Nashville came out of the churches. In California it came out of the honky tonks and bars.’ And that’s probably the best embodiment of the difference.
- – Dwight Yoakam on the allure of California country music.

People would say, ‘Why are you guys in country music? You look like you’re in the Backstreet Boys.’ We took so much heat. We always said, ‘It’s not about hats and Wrangler Jeans. It’s about a state of mind. Country is in our souls.’
- – Jay DeMarcus recalls early opposition to Rascal Flatts. Of course, they’ve established their country bona fides since then.

My opinion, lately, has been that making it better (with technology) is sometimes making it worse, because the first guy decided they could use Pro Tools and take a bass guitar and a kick drum and make that an immoveable sort of symphonic unit. Everybody else caught on really quick, and now that’s on every record. Now, I turn on the radio and hear a lot of things that sound like what I’ve done already. Where do you go from here?
- – Brad Paisley has been talking along these lines for months now. You can finally hear some of what he’s up to on new single “Southern Comfort Zone,” available digitally October 2.

The 18-month album cycle to me is unhealthy, and Nashville has gotten to that. To me the cycle has taken albums as pieces of work down a notch. It’s not very often you hear an album anymore that’s a body of work, everything that’s on there has a reason for being on there. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s few and far between because of the ravenous album schedule that the industry puts on us.
- – John Rich. Then again, Big & Rich’s four albums in eight years isn’t much compared to the 30 Merle Haggard issued between 1965 and 1974.

At the same time, the growing up where I did in Louisiana, the people I really admired were Guy Clark and Jerry Jeff Walker and Willis Alan Ramsey and even Johnny Cash and Roger Miller and Tom T. Hall — those great storytellers. That’s what I wanted to be. I still remember Cash doing “John Henry,” just talking it onstage, and I’m thinking, “That’s what I want to do.” I never aspired to be a crooner. I never had that voice or anything, but I always loved telling a story onstage and looking at the eyes of the audience and going, “We’re connecting. This is fun.” And I kind of missed it. I wasn’t doing that anymore.
- – Kix Brooks on why ending Brooks & Dunn was the right decision for him.

The only thing I was concerned about with that song was having my younger fan base not really get it, because of it being ’94 and it making reference to some of his song titles. There may be some younger fans that have to do some research and figure out who Joe Diffie is.
- – Jason Aldean hesitated to record “1994″ because he’s not sure if his fans’ knowledge of country music goes back that far. I feel old.

When you dedicate your life to something, you should know where it came from. Growing up, I gravitated toward George Strait, Randy Travis, and Keith Whitley. But then you realize that your heroes have heroes, and you wanna figure out who they are. Those guys look up to [Merle] Haggard. And Haggard’s favorite is Lefty [Frizzell], and Lefty’s favorite was Ernest Tubb, and Ernest Tubb’s was Jimmie Rodgers.
- – Jerrod Niemann. Maybe Jason Aldean fans should hang out with him more.

No dude has ever learned how to play guitar with anything other than getting chicks in mind.
- – Dubious claim by John Rich.

You hear a country song, you shouldn’t think, ‘Oh, that’s not cool, ’cause I’m a hip-hop artist, I shouldn’t do a country song.’ Just do the goddamn country song.
- – Or don’t, T-Pain. Please, please don’t.

The louder I played and the more I pranced around, the less authentic it felt to me. It just felt like a gag.
- – Marty Stuart on ’90s country stardom.

I believe we’re born knowing a lot more than we remember and we’re taught to forget (for) the rest of our lives. That’s what songwriting is to me — a momentary touchstone of remembering on some small scale what we’ve been taught to forget.
- – Dwight Yoakam, philosophically.

I walked next door, and they walked me right into makeup, and then right out the door and went straight down to where we were shooting on site. So in that video, that is the same outfit I wore in the show the night before. I didn’t change.
- – Shooting a video in day-old clothes? I take it all back, Brantley Gilbert. You’re definitely an outlaw.

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About C.M. Wilcox

A freelance writer and humorist with an abiding love of country music, C.M. Wilcox's cutting, clear-eyed take on the genre has drawn the attention of Country Weekly, The Washington Post, and The Tennessean in the years since this site began. C.M. lives near Sacramento and can be reached by email at CMW (at) countrycalifornia.com.

Things People Are Saying

  1. Sabra says:

    How many country singers do you find that are from way up North?

    Corb Lund. Though even Juice Newton is more tolerable than Jason Aldean.

  2. Kudos to Niemann. In the little I’ve had a chance to talk with him, he seems to have a really strong sense of his country music roots and the importance that lies in those roots.

  3. B. Harroun says:

    I LEFT country radio in 1994, Mr. Aldean, due to the fact I thought it couldn’t get any worse….Guess it could, due to you & your ersatz outlaw douchbag buddies sold to the masses a few years later….

  4. Paul Shane says:

    Taylor Swift comes to mind and countless others but that’s NOT the point…

    What makes country music great is that it originated in America….
    And you don’t need to be raised on a farm to write a great Country Song…

    “Country Songs are heartfelt stories of pain and glory…”
    (Paul Shane, California Country Singer / Songwriter)

  5. shelby cmr says:

    i really enjoy Jerrod Niemann’s music! can’t wait for his new album!

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