Quotable Country – 11/10/13 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

Shouldn’t we give the artist the platform to make musical statements sometimes? There was probably a meeting with Loretta Lynn and somebody said ‘You can never put out this song called “The Pill,”‘ and she got it done anyway, which made her who she is—and a legend. Playing safe is not our priority; Kacey is a true artist, and it’s our responsibility to support that artistry.
– – CMA Awards executive producer Robert Deaton congratulates himself for letting Kacey Musgraves play “Follow Your Arrow” on the show. But her musical statement had less power for ABC’s censoring of the “roll up a joint” line, which you’d think Deaton might have known about.

I’m so excited to be part of the women in country music movement. I look at people like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and songwriters who were sassy and beautiful and also intelligent and humorous. They inspired me, and if I could be at all, in any part, carrying that on, then I feel like that’s the icing on the cake for me, and I feel like I’ve done my job.
– – Kacey Musgraves.

We had our artists on the room keys at the MGM and The Signature in Las Vegas at the last ACM Awards. So we’re always looking for unique places to create general awareness, rather than just sticking ads on buses. I heard that Scott Swift, Taylor’s dad, got a key with Carrie Underwood on it and went back to the front desk to ask for a blank one. We like that.
– – Sony Nashville chairman/CEO Gary Overton. If true, this seems a little petty of Mr. Swift.

I think it’s what Guy Clark says, which is: “Write what scares you.” You know you’re onto something when you’re frightened by it. You’re frightened by how it feels to you, when you’re alone in the room with it. So I guess I’ll just copy Guy and say write what scares you.
– – Darrell Scott’s advice for songwriters.

I’m not exposed to Nashville country music very often. But when I come across it I have a visceral negative reaction to it. It seems like a false picture of life. It doesn’t resonate with me at all. I don’t know, maybe there are places where there are dudes in $100 designer jeans driving brand new $40,000 pickup trucks, constantly surrounded by partying swimsuit models, all trying to out-redneck each other. But that’s not a world I’m familiar with, and when I see it on TV it just seems fake to me. The vocals and music itself are so overproduced and smoothed over and glossy, like it’s been run through a bunch of computers and focus groups.
– – Slaid Cleaves, in a guest post on Saving Country Music. Very cool.

I wake up every day thinking, ‘I just can’t do it anymore.’ There’s nothing left to say and I’m completely dry. And then I get in the room with somebody and they say the right thing, and I’m on again.
– – Shane McAnally on survival and inspiration via co-writing.

I have a hard time being happy, and I think a lot of creative people suffer with that when life gets real happy. I’m affected by things that are really sad and I’m just not very sad right now. . . . I’m a creative person who had a lot of dark time in my life. I can still get to it, I can still go to a relationship or a time when things weren’t great. But it’s getting further and further from me. So what choice should I make? I really like being happy.
– – Shane McAnally again, in one of the two Washington Post articles about him by Chris Richards. Good stuff. Thanks to Carolyn for the tip.

There’s something to writing a song that you think is compelling enough that Miranda Lambert would choose it out of the thousands of songs she’s been pitched. When you only have to please yourself, you lose a little bit.
– – Brandy Clark says (to Chris Richards) that there’s a particular art to writing with others in mind.

I just think we’ve been led down this wrong road for the last two or three years of music and it has hurt us. And it’s been counterproductive, it’s been detrimental. I think everybody’s played a role in it. Hell, everybody from the songwriter to the record label to the radio took a turn at just guttin’ country music.
I’m not saying everything you hear on the radio is bad, by any stretch of the imagination. But a majority of it is just why is this there? Who would sit down and write that? Because it’s mindless stuff. Country music is this wonderful, heartfelt, microcosm of life. And somewhere along the way, the lyrics just became mindless. It doesn’t have any heart or soul to it. It’s just “Let me rhyme this word with that word.” […] I was brought up in the school of every time you sit down to write, not just every other time or one out of ten, you give it your best effort and try to write something that will change the world. Try to write something that moves people. There are some great party songs out there and there’s not a thing wrong with them, but when you’ve got just a genre of mindless garbage, it’s going to turn people off. That’s why XM Satellite Radio is making money hand over fist now. Because that’s what people want to listen to. They don’t want to listen to Top 40 country.
– – Dean Dillon to American Songwriter’s Evan Schlansky. A great read all around.

I like to write songs I believe in. There are certain songs that I just can’t write. I love that Luke Bryan can go and make spring break party songs, for example. Those songs serve a purpose and there are a lot of people who love those songs, but it would be disingenuous of me to do those songs, even though I don’t begrudge anyone for doing it. Trucks and beers may sell a lot of records, but it’s just not what I do. I have a pickup truck and I sometimes sit on the tailgate, but I don’t do it at a bonfire on a Friday night singing Eagles songs. My songs are more about [what] my life is like on a daily basis.
– – Will Hoge.

I like Friday nights a lot. I grew up in the country and really enjoy trucks and Friday nights, but I know when someone’s trying to fool me.
– – Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker on contemporary country.

9 Things You’re Guaranteed to Hear in a Bro-Country Song
– – The “bro-country” coinage seems to have opened the floodgates to endless editorials and lists decrying the trend. Were these people not around for the first five years of Farce the Music? Trailer totally scooped them.

I got a lot of press at the beginning about being white or being a girl and playing like a guy, and I just rolled my eyes and said, ‘It doesn’t have anything to do with what sex you are if you like something enough that you teach yourself how to play it.’ You’re either good or you’re not good…
– – Bonnie Raitt.

I feel like we’re getting back to a time period where substance is important. For a while, maybe it was more popular for you to have just a pretty face or a good voice. But I love the fact that we are coming back to a time of lyrical substance. […] Good songs will be hits. Truthful songs will be hits. If you pour yourself into it and people connect with it — and you’re not just doing something because radio might like it but because it’s natural to you — then it’s undeniably a hit.
– – Kacey Musgraves has high hopes for the new era of country.

I trust that a lot of us that are coming up through the ranks are going to handle it with care and take it to a new, good place. It’s always been moving. Back in the day when Bill Monroe was the man, and when Hank Williams came along, it was like, ‘Whoa! Let’s stop this! It’s too rowdy!’ There’s always been a struggle between tradition and blazing a new trail. That hasn’t changed at all. It’s just that the spectrum is wider than it’s ever been.
– – Charlie Worsham on the future of country.

Bluegrass drives me to country music. The original immigrant music takes me there. The music of Ricky and Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe makes me high. I love it, and it goes right through me.
– – Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees. This is open to interpretation, but I prefer to imagine he means bluegrass “goes right through” him in an electricity way instead of a Thai food way.

My record. It just came out, so I have to listen to it. ‘Call Me Up’ is my favorite song on the album.
– – Thomas Rhett on what he listened to on his way to the CMA Awards. Uhh…

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    • Aikou says

      Actually scratch that, John Rich is the Tony Stark of Nashville, Rhett is just showing a bit if his there lol.

      (Wish we could edit posts here)

  1. says

    I am going to guess that the bleeping of Kacey’s pot lyrics was done on the spot by some suit at the Network. Surely they have a person they keep in the control room – otherwise, what happens when an artist drops an f-bomb during a speech?

    The comments about lazy songwriting are right on. I have been watching/listening to a lot of CMT Pure Country channel this weekend. Several songs, including Thomas Rhett’s huge hit, have the same line repeated in the same verse.The verse starts with that line, and it ends with that line. They couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a new rhyme.

    Also, that article about Bro-Country reminds me of the ridiculous of rhyming “aw naw” with “patron”. That’s at least on par with Tyler Farr’s “drank” and “Hank”.

  2. the pistolero says

    A few observations…

    On Charlie Worsham’s “the spectrum is wider than it’s ever been” remark — to the extent that’s true, it’s only because the spectrum has shifted, with hard rock on one and hip-hop on the other, with even less room for actual country music, and for him to imply otherwise is either really ignorant or really misleading. I mean, honestly. If traditional country music was adequately represented on the radio, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion that he contributed to with his comments, would we?

    I hope to hell Kacey Musgraves is right about substance becoming important in country music again. I’ve had all I can stand of this BS frat-boy “music,” and that’s only being subjected to it for a few minutes every so often in the local barbecue joints because I’ve completely sworn off terrestrial country radio other than the classic country stations. Friday morning I was subjected to FGL’s “Get Your Shine On” and couldn’t facepalm hard enough when I heard the line “slide that sugar shaker over here.” I didn’t think it could get much worse than Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night,” but it damn sure did.

    Thomas Rhett is apparently as self-unaware as his Peach Picker dad. I don’t even know what his “huge hit” is. Something tells me I am better off for that.

    • Derrick says

      If you’ve ever seen Country Strong, you’ll recall a scene where the pretty young thing sings her original song at a bar. It has lyrics about being so drunk that I spewed. The crowd rightfully laughed at her.

      So many of the hit songs have lyrics just as sophomoric. Here’s the Rhett song I meant:

      “It Goes Like This”

      Hey girl, you make me wanna write a song,
      Sit you down, I’ll sing it to you all night long,
      I’ve had a melody in my head
      Since she walked in here and knocked me dead.
      Yeah girl, you make me wanna write a song

      And it goes like ooh,
      What I wouldn’t do
      To write my name on your heart,
      Get you wrapped in my arms
      Baby all around you.
      And it goes like hey,
      Girl I’m blown away,
      Yeah it starts with a smile and it ends with an all night long slow kiss,
      Yeah it goes like this.

      Hey girl, you make me wanna drive you home,
      Get you outta here and get you all alone.”

      • says

        My son’s favorite book is Sandra Boynton’s “Snuggle Puppy,” which has the following lines:

        “It starts with an OOO
        And ends with a kiss
        And all along the middle it goes something like this…”

        That’s what I think of every time I hear that Thomas Rhett song. So basically, country songs are being written at the comprehension level of 2 year olds.

          • Sabra says

            No. She was not. She was wandering the living room singing Chris Knight all on her own, with no prompting. “Something’s Changed,” on off chance anyone has a burning curiosity about what my toddler was singing.

  3. Chris says

    You all have articulated my opinions very well…especially Pistolero, I swear we must’ve been separated at birth ;)


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