Quotable Country – 11/18/12 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

While he’s actually a gifted and distinguishable singer with some excellent harmony partners in his band — mellower tunes such as “Goodbye in Her Eyes” and “Free” proved as much — Brown has all the persona of a dry rub . His between-song banter on Saturday was mostly spent thanking his tour sponsors. He’s especially a dud compared to fellow party-centric country singers such as Church and Kenny Chesney.
– – Zac Brown gets a rare critical concert review from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

But there are millions and millions of young people who just don’t know enough about songwriting. They’ve been snowed with Xboxes and iPhones and the strategy of the digital industry to put out a new gadget every 15 minutes. Who needs a mini iPad? I’m laughing. Can’t everyone see the transparent snake-oil salesmanship in all of this?
A couple of generations have been so diverted by technology they don’t know the craftsmanship of songwriting.
– – Jimmy Webb thinks young people have missed the boat on good songwriting.

As I look back retrospectively, I didn’t understand that the real business here (in Nashville) was songwriting. Music Row was not about live performance. It was about recording and those companies that supply the material for those artists to record. I didn’t know that you got a job songwriting in one of those houses and start making your way. And so when I knocked on enough doors and didn’t get any response to who I was as a performer, I went west.
– – Dwight Yoakam on failing to make it in Nashville.

[In the ’80s and ’90s, you] would use your country metaphors and imagery, like tailgates and having a beer, as decoration around a story. You’d still have some kind of interesting story, something with a twist, something clever you had dreamed up. And you would decorate it with all of the country imagery to let people know it’s a country song. Now the metaphor is the song! (laughs) It’s sort of becoming a caricature of itself and, in my opinion, it’s being overused right now. Nothing wrong with it — it’s party music — but we’ve got to continue to tell the story and use that imagery in a different way.
– – Billy Dean on modern country songwriting.

Then you didn’t like the way Faith Hill sang “God Bless America” at the end of her performance? Maybe you have something against God or America, but please leave Hill out of that.
– – Alison Bonaguro takes an Entertainment Weekly writer to task for daring to criticize anything about the CMA Awards, exhibiting about as much argumentative skill as your average Brantley Gilbert fan.

“Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” is the title of Thompson Square’s first-ever No. 1 song and will also be the title of the married country couple’s first book! The duo’s Shawna and Keifer Thompson have inked a deal with Howard Books to co-write a novel partly based on the love story told in their Grammy-nominated tune.
Also co-written with famed Christian author Travis Thrasher…
– – Hmm, why do I not see the Thompsons actually co-writing much of their “co-written” book? This trend of releasing fiction spin-offs of country hits still strikes me as so very odd.

He’s like me 10 or 20 years ago.
– – Toby Keith on Brantley Gilbert, with all the reason you’ll ever need to dislike either.

I’m excited to be part of a movement that’s progressing country music. There’s always gonna be people saying, “It ain’t country anymore,” but I don’t get into that whole deal. I know when I roll into town — and when Jason [Aldean] and Eric [Church] do — that there’s jacked-up pickup trucks and country folks out there. We’re performing what they want to hear.
– – Luke Bryan on country’s current reigning class.

Q: Do you still see yourself as a country artist?
A: I don’t. “Country” has become a marketing term. I see myself as a songwriter. […] More and more, I see myself as a folk musician, and someone who values context. If you’re playing in a tradition and you have no reference point to it, no understanding and have not studied it, I can’t respect that.
– – Rosanne Cash.

Billy Joe Shaver shot a guy in the face and Johnny Rodriguez killed a guy. Things like that used to really hurt a career but now it helps it. I don’t know why, but it’s an appeal now. Instead of hindering your crowds it seems to enhance it.
– – Johnny Bush (he wrote “Whiskey River”) on Randy Travis’ recent personal drama.

I’m really happy for people who achieve that next (level) — like Blake (Shelton) and Taylor (Swift), I think that’s wonderful — but no thank you. I would not want that type of international, household, can’t go anywhere, people know who you are (fame). Some people I feel are born into that, they’re just built for it. They have the self-esteem for it. I’m all about playing my guitar and making music and singing my songs, and the level of fame isn’t that important to me. So I think that’s how I come out of the other side of it OK no matter what.
– – Terri Clark is fine with the way her career has played out.

[Glenn] Frey, who has a daughter at NYU, said he was drawn to teaching the songwriting class after attending the Country Music Awards a few years ago and hearing a series of poorly written songs.
– – Ha. Remember when it was a big deal that the Eagles were on hand to perform at the 2007 CMA Awards? Glenn Frey’s takeaway from that evening probably wasn’t what the industry had hoped. Songs performed that year included “Gunpowder and Lead,” “These Are My People,” “Johnny Cash,” etc.

I talk about the good and the bad. I wish I could say there was a lot of good, but my life has been kind of tragic. It goes back to yellow lines and dead possums. In my life, I’ve never known the middle. I wish I would have been the center of an Oreo, just the sweet part. But I’ve never known that at all.
– – Billy Ray Cyrus is penning a memoir. It’ll be about the cookie part of the Oreo, I guess.

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    • idlewildsouth says

      I go to concerts for the music, but I do prefer my artists to be a little more engaging with their audience where it concerns between song banter. The reality is that really is its own art form. See Todd Snider.

    • Chris says

      I agree 100% about Rosanne…she’s a wonderful musical communicator.

      As for the Thompson Square book, I have the same reaction the first time I heard of their ridiculous song: “are you gonna kiss me or not?” what the hell is this, 8th grade? Ugh

  1. says

    Ugh. I’ve not been to a live performance of The Zach Brown Band, but I have been to a live performance of Eric Church’s (when he opened for Miranda Lambert) and I can say that ZBB’s television live performances have blown Eric Church’s actual live performance out of the water.

  2. Andrew says

    Not sure why Toby would insult himself with that Brantley comparison. 10-20 years ago, Toby was putting out some of the best music in mainstream country.

  3. says

    I thought the same thing about Toby Keith’s comments – he hit his creative peak in the 90s pre-“How Do You Like Me Now”. But I can get the Brantley Gilbert comparison on Keith singles like “Who’s Your Daddy”, “Get My Drink On”, and the like.

    An album of “swampy, roots-oriented…Faulkneresque” Southern-themed songs? Count me in once again, Ms. Cash.

  4. says

    Of course the EW critic hates God and America. How old is Bonaguro, fourteen?

    I don’t know how involved Thompson Square will actually be in the ‘co-writing’ of their book, but it does smell an awful lot like an attempt to keep milking the success of their only bona fide hit to date.

  5. Mike Wimmer says

    That Luke Bryan quote is freaking ridiculous. Being Country isnt having a jacked up truck, far, far from it. As a matter of fact 9/10 times the guys who have jacked up trucks are middle to upper class, white, city kids who think they are Country. I grew up on a dairy farm in a small town in the middle of nowhere, MN. Nobody had jacked up trucks, because to throw that much money into something like a truck was ridiculous and most people didnt have any freaking money to throw away.

    Luke Bryan just showed how much of a d-bag he truly is.

  6. Sarah says

    I can’t decide whether the Toby Keith quote is a better reason to hate Keith or Gilbert (no, wait, it’s definitely a bigger insult to Keith). But it’s nice to see some real honesty from Luke Bryan: “Yes, we know it’s not country anymore, but we drive jacked-up trucks, so who the hell cares?”


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