Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
We always like to refer to it as ‘Flatterizing’ a track. ●
— Jay DeMarcus on what Rascal Flatts calls it when they record a song. Flatterizing, huh? This reminds me that, with all the ‘bro country’ hullabaloo, we probably haven’t been making fun of these guys nearly enough the past couple years.
Their show is the most crazy thing I’ve ever seen in my life, minus going to a dubstep concert. ●
— Thomas Rhett on Florida Georgia Line.
As weird as it may sound coming out of my mouth, I’m probably the biggest country music fan that is such a fan of Justin Timberlake and of Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. When you go to shows like that, it makes you think to yourself, ‘What in the world am I doing in my show that’s like half as cool as this?’ ●
— Thomas Rhett.
I love country music, and I feel like these days in country music, it’s kind of rare for the really country music boundary to be pushed. Country music sometimes isn’t super country these days. ●
— Kacey Musgraves with the understatement.
Somewhere along the line, country music became ashamed of itself, and they started looking for mass appeal. Around 1977, these money guys came in and started pushing making music from your wallet instead of from your heart. Artists always wanted to make money, but it was less blatant. It’s all about money now, and it’s just soulless. ●
— Dale Watson.
I started digging karaoke shows because I played baseball on the road. One day I sang and there was someone in the crowd that said, ‘Hey man, I work for Kings Dominion and we’re looking for singers.’ I was like, ‘What? I play baseball, come on,’ and then he told me how much money I could make, so I was like, ‘This is fantastic!’ And that was it—the start of my music career. ●
— LoCash’s Chris Lucas on how he got his start in music.
‘Bro country’ has changed country music for the better. I don’t know why people call it bro country, maybe because it has a beat behind it. Country music has been singing about trucks, drinks, and girls for years. Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, ‘There’s a Tear in my Beer.’ It’s always been there, and I just think when something gets so popular, people tend to be negative. ●
— Chris Lucas again. Shocker that a guy who got into it for the money would end up parroting this argument, huh?
I think it’s hilarious that we live in this time where [we] have to literally label everything. Like it can’t just be good or bad. You know? I mean, I don’t really know how you listen to ‘Make Me Wanna’ and ‘Crash and Burn’ and say that I’m lumped into that category. I feel like they’re both as far away from that as it could possibly be. ●
— Thomas Rhett on ‘bro country.’
I don’t want to answer that. There’s no right answer, and I feel like the question is a set-up. ●
— Jake Owen with the best response to the ‘bro country’ question for a guy in his position.
Just life, you know (laughs)? My life, other people’s lives I’ve experienced in touring and travel. The song encompasses everyone’s life. ●
— Jake Owen on what inspired “Real Life.” Deep, man.
I think I was very fortunate growing up, being influenced by what I would say is the best country music to ever be on the radio. I was influenced by every male singer in country music between the years 1988 and 1995. That was some of the best singing, and some of the best songs, ever was when I was being impressed upon. I had some of the best teachers in the world. ●
— Craig Campbell.
… I went to the office and discovered Dwight’s voice on my answering machine, apologizing profusely for our missed connection, talking about the review, remembering the previous time we’d met for an interview, etc., etc. Not only had he bothered to get the number for my direct line, he kept calling back after the time limit on the Statesman’s voice mail cut him off. At least seven times. ●
— Don McLeese on Dwight Yoakam. Somehow tales of Dwight’s long-windedness never fail to amuse me.
Q: Do you consider yourself a freak?
A: I’m not necessarily the norm anymore. I’m not mainstream and maybe out of date. I still like holding doors for ladies and believe in Jesus and the USA. ●
— Joe Nichols on the freakishness of, uh, holding the same beliefs and values held by huge swaths of the mainstream country audience. What a weirdo.
“I think a lot of people give a damn about songs anymore. I was just in a bad mood,” Moreland laughs. ●
— John Moreland on writing “Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore.”
Ultimately, this is a song about escape. There are plenty of songs about escape on the radio right now. Most of them involve getting totally blitzed and making regrettable decisions with someone who fits a trite stereotype, because YOLO, right? But human beings are different than that. Underneath all toughness and swagger is a vulnerability that we have, a dream unfulfilled, a blank space still waiting to be filled. Music is one way we fill that… ●
— Always-great The Song Survives, arising from a long slumber to steer readers toward Charles Kelley’s “The Driver.”
I love country music. I respect country music so much that I would never think that I can sit down and just as easy do a country album. That’s not it. That’s just like some country artist saying, “Hell, I’m just gonna do a rap album.” ●
— Nelly on refusing to call country-tinged music ‘country.’
I am not here to sell records, I am here to make records. And if someone can sell them, that’s great. And if they can’t, that’s too bad. But it’s not going to change what I do. ●
— Clint Black.
I don’t recognize country music anymore. The bar is not very high right now. I’m not naming any names. I’m just saying the bar isn’t very high right now. [There is] a lot of bad songwriting going on, really sloppy stuff. Not that country music is supposed to be an intellectual exercise, but it could be better than it is. It could have more meat to it than it has currently got. […] I’d like to see a good backlash happen again. Radio has to stop pandering to demographics. ●
— Don Henley to Rolling Stone.
There are similarities between what’s happening to cities and what’s happening in music — the undermining and the destruction of history and our roots. The foundations of our past that need to be preserved and brought forward. It’s shameful. It’s really shameful. Somebody has got to curate this stuff, and there are not enough of us doing this. ●
— Don Henley to CMT.
In the same opposing tidal wave [there’s] the increase in [the] plastic quality of popular country music, there’s a thirst for music that’s a bit more transparent. So much music in the pop-country scene, you don’t imagine it live or want to see it. You can’t hear the instruments. There’s a great transparency to modern roots and Americana music that there’s a mainline between live and recorded. Live presence, just being there and seeing the actual people involved is a real commodity now. And Jason Isbell’s record represents that – it’s a beautiful recorded, highly pure sounding record, and people really relate to that. ●
— Henry Wagons to Rolling Stone Australia.
I couldn’t tell you who is in country music today. I guess it’s a good thing, though, because when I go to these awards things, people always have to tell me: ‘He’s somebody important.’ Well, I don’t know. What do I know? My kind of country stuff is Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow. Hardcore, old-fashioned. ●
— Chris Isaak to Rolling Stone.
I don’t listen to it at all. It hasn’t interested me for a while. I don’t know why that it is. Not the modern popular country music, it doesn’t float my boat. I liked old stuff. [Laughs]. There’s a lot of talent in Nashville, but I think there are too many moments of listening to song content and not getting anything out of it for my heart. So I just stopped listening to it. ●
— Patty Griffin on modern country – which, it must be said, is a pretty weird thing to ask Patty Griffin about.
Well, you know, like I said, that’s a soapbox I hate to get on – I don’t want to really go to extremes with that. But I don’t care for it – I think it’s synthetic, for lack of a better word to say. The technology has grown so much that you don’t have to be talented, you don’t have to be a good singer, you don’t even have to know how to sing. If you can say a few words, they can run you through the computers and make you a singer. […] I mean, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t want to sound bad. I want everybody to succeed at whatever they might go out, set out, to do. But if you can’t sing, find another line of work, you know? ●
— Gene Watson on modern country.
I remember when “Give It Away” won Song of the Year, I didn’t know Jamey very well, and I know how he is now… but he wouldn’t smile. I said “Man you just won Song of the Year, I mean, cheer up!” But that’s just how Jamey is, he was excited inside, he just wasn’t showing it on the outside. ●
— George Strait on Jamey Johnson.