Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.
We had to dance to take the focus off how bad the music was. That’s where I learned a little bit of the [butt] shaking. ●
— Luke Bryan on the band he played with in college.
There are people out there who can write but can hardly sing. But her voice is beautiful. Her phrasing’s gorgeous. She’s such a great performer and a great actress. She’s a real triple threat. There are not many of those out there, really, where each thing is just as great as the other. ●
— Rhiannon Giddens (to The Bluegrass Situation’s Kelly McCartney) on Dolly Parton.
The greatest gift you can give another person, sometimes, is just to listen to them. ●
— “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” songwriter Richard Leigh.
I try to avoid that indie-rock mentality of ‘I have a great idea but I don’t want anybody to really know what this is about unless they ask me.’ I don’t get energy back from people when they hear [my songs] unless they are easily digestible, which I think ultimately is the essence of country music. ●
— “Backroad Song” singer Granger Smith on keeping it stupidly simple.
She’s actually one of the best Habitat for Humanity volunteers that I have ever seen. She’s always on top of scaffolding and the roof trusses, almost like an acrobat, performing her duties and also doing the dangerous things that make a lot of men like me ashamed. ●
— Former president (and fellow Georgian) Jimmy Carter on Trisha Yearwood.
But I feel like a little shift is about to happen. […] There’s so much talk about how women are getting slighted as far as air time and letting more new artists have that kind of support they need to get off the ground. But I feel with Miranda Lambert and some of these sassier gals out there now, even Carrie Underwood, they’ve stood up for that and said, ‘What’s the deal. Why can’t you let my sisters in?’ I’m waiting for a wave of strong, unique women again. ●
— Suzy Bogguss on female artists and country radio.
Women have to work harder to get half the recognition. I am one of the lucky ones. ●
— Carrie Underwood to Cosmopolitan.
Women have been getting the shaft for a while now. I know there are some extremely talented, hard working female artists in Nashville that, for some reason, just don’t get the support that guys get. It’s impossible not to think that there are only a handful of successful women that [are successful on this level] and can play ball with the boys. It’s just so weird to me. I don’t get it. ●
— Carrie Underwood to the National Post.
Rhett: People would probably think, ‘Man, I bet Chris despises Thomas Rhett’s music.’ And other people would think, ‘Well, I bet Thomas Rhett is not a fan of Chris ’cause Thomas Rhett’s music is not traditional.’ What are you even saying?
Stapleton: I like hanging out with him. He’s a good guy. I like good people. ●
— Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett, in a joint interview with the Associated Press.
By celebrating Stapleton, country music is, in a way, celebrating its own machine, which in this case has allowed the session man to come out from behind the curtain. […] But what makes Stapleton different from other throwback real-dealers is his long-standing and comfortable connection to the industry itself. Stapleton, as was reaffirmed at the C.M.A.s, is neither outsider nor interloper—he is a major artist on a major label, and everyone in the room wants him to succeed, and looks good if he does. Country needs a top shelf, a highbrow. ●
— The New Yorker’s Ian Crouch: “Has Chris Stapleton Cracked the Country Code?”
I don’t ever believe they have to be separate things, the commerce and something artful. I don’t think they’re that separate. In fact, I think they need each other. They feed each other. If there wasn’t someone having a huge commercial success, guys like me wouldn’t have the opportunity to do something a little out of the ordinary, because there wouldn’t be money for it. ●
— Chris Stapleton on art and commerce.
Well, people who know me [know] that I don’t get in a rush too much, sometimes to other people’s dismay. [Laughs] I try to look at things — and I’m not always great at it — as things happen or don’t happen for reasons, and we’re not always supposed to know what those reasons are. Philosophically, everything’s gonna happen if it’s gonna happen and it’s not if it’s not. It’s always gonna be what it’s gonna be. And if you just let it be that and go with it and walk through the doors that are open, that’s all you can do. Those are the things that you have control over. If I could plan it out on a piece of paper, it couldn’t be better for me right now. ●
— Chris Stapleton, declining an invitation to complain about the long road from “What Are You Listening To?” to Traveller and his breakout performance on the CMAs.
That doesn’t make me nervous. What I’m most afraid of is saying the wrong thing in a room like this. ●
— Chris Stapleton in the CMA Awards press room, asked if the performance with Justin Timberlake made him nervous.
It’s so good for country music. The song is important for us right now. We love to have the ‘Pontoon’ songs and the drinking songs because they make the live shows so much fun, but we are all itching to get to these substance songs that really talk about things, and that’s what country music was built on. It really shows off the format when we get to stand up there at the Billboard Awards and sing this beautifully crafted lyric by three of Nashville’s best songwriters [Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose]. It makes me proud, and maybe it’s opened up a dialogue about not being afraid of songs of substance. ●
— Karen Fairchild on “Girl Crush” and bringing substance back to country radio.
There’s something I always tell young songwriters: don’t just listen to “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Read The Grapes of Wrath. That’s a classic song, but Springsteen wouldn’t have written it if he hadn’t read Steinbeck. That’s how important reading is for a songwriter. It keeps that part of the brain fresh. You won’t stagnate if you’re always exposed to other writers. That’s why I’m always reading. ●
— Ray Wylie Hubbard to Songwriters on Process. Good read.
No, it makes me want to use it more. I’m happy to be a country band. Somebody’s gotta do it! ●
— Turnpike Troubadour Evan Felker on whether all the not-so-country acts calling themselves ‘country’ make him less enthusiastic about using the term to describe his own music.
Sixty years ago, I loved what the Grand Ole Opry stood for. I still love what it stands for, but not quite so much. […] Today’s country is not country, and I’m very adamant about that. I’ll tell anybody who’ll listen, and some of those who don’t want to listen, I’ll tell them anyway. … Country music today isn’t genuine. ●
— Jean Shepard (to Juli Thanki) on keeping up the fight for traditional country music.
I have a greater understanding of how mediocre Congressmen keep getting elected. ●
— Mac McAnally on winning CMA Musician of the Year for the eighth consecutive year.
I believe nerves are a source of energy. I’m not afraid of nerves. I just try to channel them, you know, you try to ride them like a bronco in a rodeo. You don’t want the bronco to be an easy ride because that’s sort of self-defeating — you want him to buck you a little bit. ●
— Mac McAnally on still getting nervous in the studio.
When I write some stuff that I want to say, that’s really the only reason for me to make a record. There’s not more than eight or 10 carloads of people that are waiting for the next Mac record. ●
— Mac McAnally again.
My take, and it’s probably totally off, but with all the streaming and stealing music has no monetary value any more. But I think true artistry does. When Jason Isbell or Sturgill or Stapleton write records to… not be on the charts, not trying to make top 10 singles… it’s just making something personal. I think people are willing to put up money when they feel people are putting in the effort, making art. You want to buy the album, you want to go to the show and buy a t-shirt. It becomes more of a lifestyle instead of a commodity. There’s a loyalty instilled that you don’t get with pop. Theses fans will stick with them. Maybe real art is the only thing that defeats music piracy. ●
— Dave Cobb to Twang Nation.
Some artists are picking up the same fan base across the board, but you look at these two [artists’ followers] and say, ‘These are not the same people that I’m seeing anywhere else.’ I think that that speaks volumes. We’re finding the people that want to hear this music, and they don’t look the same as everybody else. […] If you go back to the people that changed our lives, they were all true artists, and they followed their own path. They might not always have been the easiest to work with or done all of the things that you wanted them to do, but they weren’t going to sell out. They were going to be who they were going to be. ●
— UMG Nashville president Cindy Mabe, in an article on the unconventional success stories of Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves. Must admit I find it pretty encouraging to see a high-ranking label executive speaking in these terms.
It’s a great confidence booster. It’s like endless amounts of, ‘You’re so beautiful, you’re so talented, you’re a great role model, you have a beautiful voice.’ And it’s like, here I am, like, ‘Thank you.’ ●
— Taylor Swift, obscure male photographer, on sharing a name with – and happily receiving fan mail intended for – Taylor Swift, international pop star.
He definitely influenced the melodic and songwriting structure of what I do today. ●
— Thomas Rhett on Hank Williams Sr.