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Nobody put himself through more hell than Hank: He’d get in the lowest of lows, put himself in a deep state of depression, and pour that out in eight lines of a song. ●
- – Dale Dodson on Hank Cochran, subject of Jamey Johnson’s new all-star tribute album that comes out tomorrow. Tomorrow!
If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it ought to be now that he’s made an album without the ingredients that originally won him acclaim: Johnson, the intelligent contrarian, is the one calling the shots. And it’s usually worked out pretty well for him on both the critical and commercial fronts. Whether he means to or not, it’s a big deal that he changes the topic to serious, rogue country artistry every couple of years in a genre currently recognized for its arena-scale audiences and production rather than the transgressiveness of its voices. ●
- – Jewly Hight, with a particularly astute take on Living for a Song. Did I mention that it comes out tomorrow?
It was more of a challenge, because he pushed me on every song, it seemed like. I admit, I need to be pushed, but sometimes I was getting a little put out. I would do a take, and he would say, “That was great, Wanda.” And I would go, “Whew, good, I pleased him, now we can go to another song.” [Laughs.] And he would say, “Give me one more take, and push just a little bit more.” And I said, “Jack, you’re a slave-driver.” [Laughs.] I said, “I’m an old lady, you gotta remember that.” And he’d just laugh it off. ●
- – Wanda Jackson on recording with Jack White.
It’s hard for bluegrass fans to just accept what’s being done by artists out there, but this idea of people wanting the genre to just go in one direction is a very confusing thing. Art is all about evolution. Art never arises because someone wants something to be a certain way and never change. It just doesn’t work like that. ●
- – Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters) on evolution, and resistance to same, in bluegrass.
Last weekend, Carrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher went zip lining in Idaho. And if I remember correctly, the adventurous newlyweds also tried stand-up paddle surfing over the summer. ●
- – Alison Bonaguro has all the important news…
But did you know he is becoming kind of a math whiz? Neither did he. When he got a 98 percent on a recent math test at North Carolina State University, he was kind of surprised. ●
- – Including how college freshman Scotty McCreery is doing on every math test. You know, since that’s your business and everything. This could be a long four years…
This is breaking news, but there are a few happy songs on this album. I do explore the emotion every once in a while. I’d like to think you don’t stop being creative once you get happy. My ultimate goal is to end up being happy. Most of the time. ●
- – Taylor Swift says she snuck some happy songs onto her next album. Happy for her or the boy?
For me it’s about finding songs. You find 15 of the best songs you can find, once I get in the studio, they’re going to sound like me. I don’t really go in ahead of time and try to get too artsy with that stuff and overthink it. I’m not that smart. I’m not smart enough to go in there and put together some sort of theme. ●
- – Don’t expect Jason Aldean to get all artsy in the studio. Or to think about stuff.
I always joke about ‘Strawberry Wine,’ which I had on hold and let go. It went on to sell four million singles. The truth is, that song was meant for Deana Carter. When I cut ‘She’s in Love with the Boy,’ it had been around two or three years before I recorded it. I think songs end up where they are supposed to be. ●
- – Trisha Yearwood won’t cry over hits she missed.
What I’ve learned by going out and playing smaller venues and being more in touch with people is getting feedback, just by virtue of being able to watch the crowd react and watch their faces instead of being blinded by 3,000 spotlights. I’ve realized that you can quickly get out of touch with your audience if you’re not careful. ●
- – Ronnie Dunn on playing smaller venues.
It’s a community that has been marginalized, overlooked and made fun of at the same time that it’s been wildly successful. I felt I had never seen a really true representation of what my experience of Nashville was. I felt like I always saw a hokey version of something that really could be incredibly moving and wonderful and just deserved more than it was getting. ●
- – Callie Khouri, creator of ABC’s new “Nashville” soap, seems to have the best of intentions.
What I’m imagining we’ll end up seeing is that their lives are going to become more intertwined in some way. And there will probably be some conflict. ●
- – Connie Britton, with the tamest possible “Nashville” predictions. There’ll probably be some conflict, eh? Oh, one of THOSE stories…
As he looks toward 2013, Aldean hopes the big story for him won’t be his personal life but his continued success on tour. Life on the road is a recurring theme throughout the new album…
“It’s more of a journeyman record,” he says of Night Train. “That’s what my life has been like for the last eight years, nine years. Ultimately, your lifestyle is going to affect the kind of songs you play.” ●
- – Well, this is embarrassing. Jason Aldean thinks ‘journeyman’ means ‘man who journeys a lot.’