Quotable Country – 10/13/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

I think people can detect when people are being real and fake, and that’s one thing we’ve stayed true to, being ourselves and being real dudes. We’re just normal country dudes who don’t know a lot about a whole lot. People are really drawn to us… and I think that’s just a natural human instinct to be drawn to other people who are genuine.
– – Per Tyler Hubbard, part of Florida Georgia Line’s appeal is being genuinely not very smart.

“I remember asking [Ray Charles] one time, ‘How do you know when to do those little soul-things?'”
Charles replied, “‘Kenny, if you have to think about it, they’re wrong.'”
– – Kenny Rogers, who has been making media rounds in support of You Can’t Make Old Friends.

You know, Hank Williams was always a hero of mine. There’s something about what appears to be the simplicity of what he does. It’s so deceptive, because anyone else tries to do it, and suddenly, they realize it isn’t that simple. Or at least, simple isn’t the same as easy. Robert Johnson, I think, is similar, in that people think, ‘Oh yeah, I know what he’s doing there.’ Well, no. It just so happens that nobody else can do it. Nobody can do Robert Johnson, and nobody can do Hank Williams. There’s something about guys like that. It’s unique, and all one can do, I suppose, is pay a kind of service to the songs themselves, rather than the artist.
– – Yet another reason to like Hugh Laurie.

It just makes it to where you can write more songs. It’s such a social thing, figuring out who you like to write with and who you don’t. The worst thing to do is spend a month writing a song by your self and then spending the next month wishing everyone liked it. I figured out that if I just wrote another song tomorrow, I don’t have to worry about the one I wrote today. That’s a big lesson for me. Luke Laird, who is really hot right now is great at doing the same thing. I have no control over what people do with my song, so I just let go of it.
– – Songwriter Mark D. Sanders (“I Hope You Dance,” “Blue Clear Sky,” “Money in the Bank”) on co-writing. His extensive interview with The Song Survives is well worth a read.

I spoke yesterday … and I told them then, I said, “I know I’m gonna get a lot of flack about this, but sooner or later country music has to decide whether it’s an art form or a business. If it’s a business, welcome anybody that sells records. If it’s an art form, get rid of everybody that doesn’t sound like Hank Williams.” If you look back at history, the only music that has never progressed at all — is exactly like it was in the ’20s — is Dixieland. Because nobody ever experimented with it.
– – Kenny Rogers on progress in country music.

We need more of those kinds of songs in [country music]. We need more songs than just songs about tailgates and f**kin’ cups and Bacardi and stuff like that. We need songs that get ourselves back to the format that made me love it . . . [like] when guys like Randy Travis released songs like ‘He Walked on Water’ – songs that meant something, man!
– – Jake Owen seems an unlikely critic of tailgate songs, but okay. Maybe he’ll channel some of that displeasure into giving us some songs that mean something.

Believe it or not, the only music that’s on my iPod or phone is usually demos—stuff that I’m considering recording. That’s really it. I don’t listen to a whole lot of other music because I’m always focusing on my next album—I’m always writing songs or listening to songs being pitched to me.
– – Surprise! Craig Morgan doesn’t listen to music other than for work.

I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power… However, I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.
– – Chely Wright. There’s a fan-launched petition going around to get her back on the Opry, since she apparently has not been invited to perform since coming out as a lesbian in 2010.

Those are just written to be sad, not because I am sad. When you know how to write a song you don’t have to be dramatic in your real life, you just write a song.
– – Daniel Romano on the indulgently maudlin songs of Come Cry With Me.

Whenever someone is making their first album, there’s a lot of give and take, songs that you agree on, and everybody’s trying to pick the best songs for you. For the first few years of my career I was a little mad because of the decisions made on my first album. […] Honestly, we made a great record. I’m really proud of it. Sometimes it takes time to realize this and realize that, that this song actually did make sense.
– – Gretchen Wilson, who reveals that “Chariot” and “What Happened” were included on Here for the Party over her own objections.

My dad has always been the most frugal human being. It’s kind of ridiculous. Dad’s written probably nine No. 1 songs in the past three years, so obviously he has some money, and he doesn’t buy anything, ever. I think he’s scared to spend money because he wonders if he’s ever going to write another hit again, while he has, like, four songs on the chart at the same time.
– – Thomas Rhett on Rhett Akins.

Kids care about music. They get on the internet and hear an old John Anderson or Daryle Singletary song and it stirs their interest. They tell their friends and before long there is a cult following. Then, they dig back even farther and keep discovering great music. It takes all the politics out of it. Traditional country music as a whole is going to make a comeback.
– – Marty Haggard, son of Merle, sees social media as a boon to traditional country.

It took me six years [to have my first hit]. Thank God the record label kept me on. It wasn’t a cram it down your throat, hurry up, throw it out, you’d better be No. 5 or better or you’re out. Thank goodness it wasn’t that way when I was getting started, or I never would have gotten my toe in the door.
– – Reba McEntire on having the luxury of a slow-building career.

ALSO: Brandy Clark chatted with Boston NPR news station WBUR, previewing songs and taking call-in questions for about an hour. You can hear the whole segment here. Clark’s excellent 12 Stories is out October 22, and it sounds like there will be lots of new fans in Boston looking for it.

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  1. says

    country music has to decide whether it’s an art form or a business

    In the context of what’s going on in country music anymore, this is about the most ignorant quote that I’ve heard yet. It’s pretty obvious the decision has already been made.

  2. AndyTheDrifter says

    I’m not sure what to make of Jake Owen’s comments either. I mean, I agree with him, but talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

  3. Chris says


    – Being genuine doesn’t mean being stupid

    – Not really sure what to make of Kenny Rogers’ “progress” quote, but I vote for our genre staying an art form

    – To Jake Owen (Mr. Barefoot Blue Jean Night), I say put your f***in’ money where your mouth is

    – I hope Chely Wright can continue to make some headway on the acceptance front in a genre that does admittedly still bear a bit of ignorance toward diversity

    – God, I hope Marty Haggard is right…because on all the traditional country videos I see on YouTube, the only comments are “I wish country was still like this”, and “bring this kind of country back”…these people can’t all be wrong

  4. CountryMusicSucks says

    Two things.

    First if what Chely says is true, then that is just another reason not to listen to the Opry. Its an outdated program that isn’t very entertaining, anyhow. Many of the performers on it have lost their voices. It is best enjoyed “ironically” if at all. And if it perceives its fans as being socially backward homophobes, then good riddance to the Opry.

    However, in defense of the Opry. Chely has a grand total of 1 top ten country hits (Single White Female) and a smattering of smaller “hits” that died in the teens, twenties and thirties on the chart. Her last song that made even a tiny bit of headway was “Bumper of My SUV” from 2004! And that didn’t make the top thirty even. And its an outdated song with little relevance today and there was even a minor scandal concerning its promotion at radio. Moreover, Chey’s recent music has moved away from country anyhow. Ignoring the lesbian issue, is Chely Wright really likely to draw paying customers to the Opry? Is she still making the kind of music that the Airhead Opry fans want to hear?

    Shame on the Opry if they aren’t inviting her because she is publically known as a lesbian. Was she performing on the Opry in the year or two before her announcement? But if the Opry isn’t inviting her because she is at best a C-list star whose one big hit is 14 years old, then maybe that’s a different story.

  5. CraigR. says

    Everyone has said something that I agree with, especially about Jake Owens. What scares me about the Florida Georgia LIne remark is that they really fail to see that being genuine should come out in the music, not the costumes your management picks out for you or as a defense of your music.

    I also think that it’s good that Rhett Akins saves his money- hopefully his days of controlling the sound of country music will soon come to an end.

    As a gay man who listens to country I think it reflects society at large. Pop music isn’t full of gay singers. Nor is hip-hop or rap or Latin music. One of the reasons I can still listen to country music is that the songs are about real people. I am a real person. I have heartache, fun, and faith as well. I don’t get that from any other genre of music. Just country. And one day someone will sing as a gay country singer, and the straight audience will feel that feeling too.


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