Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
Loretta says she’s wearing a new dress that’s a little big, but if it falls down, just keep clapping. ●
— Juli Thanki, tweeting from a Loretta Lynn performance.
I recently had dinner with Loretta Lynn. She’s a longtime hero of mine. I don’t think I said two words. She must think I’m a simple-minded country girl (laughs). I couldn’t think of anything to say. I was just in awe of her. I don’t remember what we ate. I just remember staring at her. I might have made her uncomfortable. ●
— Jewel to Country Aircheck.
I think she’s a national treasure. I think she is one of the last really authentic country music singers that we have today. There is so much in that voice. She’s a petite little person, but when she opens her mouth to sing and that voice comes out, you hear her region of America, and you hear the suffering and the hardship, and you also hear the love and the compassion. There are so many colors and textures and meanings encompassed in that voice. It’s just all there. ●
— Don Henley on Dolly Parton.
You can relate to picking up girls, drinking beer and hot pants. The thematic stuff is what bothers me. I don’t like Luke Bryan and those guys, because there’s no originality. Every song follows pretty much the same chord progression. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. Hank Williams used the same four chords, but there’s no melodic integrity and the words are just silly. ●
— Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson on modern country.
I think there’s too much gratuitous [music] out there right now. ●
— Josh Turner.
His dad’s a coal miner. Maybe it’s the result of watching his dad do backbreaking work, but Chris had this intense work ethic from the second he started. He’d write two songs during the day and one at night. We’d be sitting down in my office, and he would start scatting some lyrics and suddenly say, ‘I’ve gotta leave and go write this song.’ It was amazing to watch him. It was like nothing I’d ever seen. I’d go to meetings and tell them about this new writer I just signed, and this buzz went all around town. People were fighting over his songs. By the end of the first year, he’d gotten more cuts than some writers get in their whole career. ●
— Liz O’Sullivan at Sea Gayle Music, Chris Stapleton’s first publisher.
Chris played some songs for us and Mike [Dungan] said, ‘Wow, you could literally sing the phone book and it would sound good.’ So Chris got the White Pages out and flipped to a random page and started singing the names. It was hilarious. Like, Saturday-Night-Live-skit hilarious. Mike loved it, and he offered him a record deal that night. ●
— O’Sullivan again, on how Stapleton came to sign his first record deal (with Capitol) in the early 2000s. Had not heard this story before.
Life is short. This may be the only opportunity to create this space for the three of us to do it. That’s precious. I don’t think it will ever happen again. […] We all walked off stage and we all said that was one of the most moving shows any of us has ever done. ●
— Rosanne Cash on performing with Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams at her second Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum artist-in-residence show.
Starting out, my dad always said to pick out the homeliest, ugliest little kid on the first row, look at him and smile at him because he’s the one that’s going to buy the records. He’s the one that’s going to come see your show because he don’t get it any other time. He said that all those good looking ones are not as faithful and loyal. I think that can be taken in a bigger way, and you just have to treat people that way. Everybody wants to be important. My dad said if you could make them feel important for just a moment, you’ve done a lot. ●
— Tanya Tucker. If I had any fond memories of her making eyes at me at a show, I think they’d probably be ruined now. As if I needed any more reminders of my homeliness!
Larry will be running through the house, and sometimes, something will hit him wrong and he’ll fall. And he’ll get up happy. Travis don’t get up happy. It’s been so good for me to see Larry do that. When you fall, it’s OK, you get up and you smile and you go on. ●
— Travis Meadows on Larry, his three-legged dog.
I’ve had people tell [me] I make them cry. But that doesn’t mean [my music] is sad. I want to dig deep because I don’t have it in me to write about surface-level stuff and I think people equate that with sadness. That’s not sad, that’s just emotions. That’s what “feeling stuff” is like. ●
— John Moreland.
It’s like three ninjas sitting in a room discussing how you’re gonna kill a guy. It’s pretty easy if you’ve got three ninjas in a room. ●
— Jaren Johnston on co-writing “Raise ‘Em Up” with Tom Douglas and Jeffrey Steele.
We were reaching a point where we had gone several years without releasing new music. Vinny and I had a couple lemonade stands and garage sales to raise money and got ourselves in a position to start recording new music. ●
— Butter (no kidding, he still calls himself Butter) of Trailer Choir. The duo is now signed to Average Joes Entertainment.
I feel like for the first time ever, it seems like country has no creative glass ceiling. And that’s a great thing for country music. ●
— Kimberly Perry on innovation in country, where ‘innovation’ means calling this country.
Every 10 years somebody comes in, and they want to do something different. Then you fast forward 20 years, and they’re the reason that we’re even here today. It’s just kind of this big cycle. There are definitely people who are living in the past, and life is not about the past. It’s about the present. ●
— Thomas Rhett. I guess he’s one of those once-a-decade innovators we’ll be thanking later?
There are a lot of artists today that I think are starting their own grassroots following and getting a lot of fans via Twitter or Instagram, then trying to go find a record deal to work their records. I was writing songs, getting a few cuts here and there, and got my record deal with literally about 10 fans. ●
— Thomas Rhett, not exactly endearing himself to people who aren’t Rhett Akins’ kids.
People that build their careers on 13-year-old girls are doomed to obsolescence, like Donny Osmond. But Taylor seems to be turning that old saw on its head, too. Here she is and she’s not only got the 13-year-olds, but the ones who’ve passed 13 and stuck with her. ●
— Robert K. Oermann (to Juli Thanki) on the ever-expanding cult of Taylor Swift.
My general idea of the world is that I’m not different at all because I’m a girl. So first off, I kind of get blindsided sometimes by [gender imbalances], because I forget that that’s a thing. It’s a money-driven thing. If you see a scarcity of women and you’re trying to make an investment, you’re like, “Maybe there’s a reason people aren’t investing; we’re going to follow that trend.” I remember people telling me, “No one’s signing women.” But I was like, that’s an opportunity. If no one else is doing it, there’s a window. ●
We are starting to regroup, because we are trying to figure out what is the genre right now, and what is country music and is there a place for female music at all on country radio. It’s not frustrating or frightening, but for me, an exciting thing. I feel like it’s going to enable me to be super creative and do more of what I want rather than what I think radio wants. ●
— Sara Evans.
I love mistakes. I love ’em. That’s what music is. ●
— Eric Church on keeping it loose.