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We seem to have created an environment in which wonderful music, newly discovered, is difficult to treasure. For treasures, as the fugitive salesman in the flea market was implying, are hard to come by—you have to work to find them. And the function of fugitive salesmen is to slow the endless deluge, drawing our attention to one album at a time, creating demand not for what we need to survive but for what we yearn for. Because how else can you form a relationship with a record when you’re cursed with the knowledge that, just an easy click away, there might be something better, something crucial and cataclysmic? The tyranny of selection is the opposite of freedom. And the more you click, the more you enhance the disposability of your endeavor. ●
– – From a New Yorker article on “Spotify and the Problem of Endless Musical Choice.”
After you start playing [arenas], you can’t hear anything and you’ve got no connection with your audience. … If this were an option — which it probably never will be — I’d rather play four or five nights in a place that held two or three thousand people than play one night for 20,000 who can’t see me or hear what I’m doing. ●
– – Jason Isbell.
Vince [Gill] had seven years of making albums before he had a hit. I don’t know in this day and time if Vince could have survived. That’s one huge difference between now and then. Back then, thank goodness, that happened. It’s sad that there are artists today who are super-talented but never get the chance [to develop]. If you don’t hit soon in this world, you’re not going to be around long. ●
– – Producer Scott Hendricks on changes in the music business.
I hope they don’t think all the ladies of country music are that scandalous, because I promise you we’re not. I hope people don’t think it’s all backstabbing and everybody sleeping with everybody else. That’s really not [the case], at least to my knowledge. There might be all kinds of stuff going on that I don’t know about, but not in my world. People really are pretty open and friendly and normal. ●
– – Carrie Underwood hopes “Nashville” the show isn’t giving people the wrong idea about Nashville the city.
People ask me, ‘How do you do it?’ I say, ‘I’m like Hannah Montana!’ ●
– – Scotty McCreery on balancing school and music career.
When my dad lost his record deal, it wasn’t a couple of days later that he went in to a music publisher and said, “If you give me a chance to write songs here, I’ll be the best songwriter you’ve ever seen.” That was four or five years ago, and that was when he was introduced to the Peach Pickers. Since then, dad’s written seven, eight, nine No. 1 songs and has 60 cuts. It’s pretty admirable to watch a guy that could have quit music and done something else recover and go on to be an awesome songwriter. ●
– – Thomas Rhett on dad Rhett Akins’ second wind.
The plan is that once our youngest graduates in 2014 to go back to Nashville. The middle one just went to college, so we only have one left in the house. She loves music, and she is actually thinking of Belmont. Can you imagine, her parents following her to college in Nashville? It would be the worst thing ever for her! (laughs) I told Garth, ‘Honey, if she goes there and we do too, you can’t expect to see her! She’ll be home for laundry and that’s it!’ ●
– – Trisha Yearwood on Garth’s impending return to the music business.
I listen to Lil Wayne and then I listen to Merle Haggard. You never know what to expect. That’s kind of how my album is. You can definitely tell that I have a little influence from Colt Ford on it. You can tell Rhett, Dallas and Ben had a big influence in my writing. Those guys got me headed in the right direction. ●
– – Tyler Farr has succeeded in dissuading me from checking out his music.
A lot of the songwriting I’m doing is in service of another artist, so in the past I would have tried to write a bunch of ideas and be really well-prepared, but what I’ve been getting closer to is using the muscle over and over again. Instead of worrying, just go do it every day. It’s a lot more getting used to what it’s like to be creative every day. You have to be brave enough to go, ‘This could suck,’ and sometimes it does, and then you have to go ‘This is terrible, let’s make an adjustment.’ It’s a unique piece that’s come with age. I can pull myself out of a bad song just like you walk down the wrong alley. But I’m pretty lucky and excited about learning how a song can change your life or your day. ●
– – Kristian Bush is fine-tuning his approach to songwriting.
I’ve dabbled in everything — it would have been sad if I hadn’t — but classic country music is what I love. There is something about it is so real and honest. It’s a lost art form, that’s for sure. Telling a true story is where country music comes in. ●
– – LeAnn Rimes, whose Lady & Gentlemen was, in case you’ve forgotten, quite excellent.
When I moved to Nashville and started making demos and writing songs because I was such a classic freak a lot of them took on that super uber country sound, more so than what you hear on my first record. I had to rock it up and contemporize to get a record deal, because every label turned me down saying I was too country.
So come full circle with it, and EMI comes to me asking me to be country. They said, ‘Will you make a classics record?’ And I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I’ve been waiting to make this record for 30 years.’ ●
– – Terri Clark on her own new covers album, Classic.
That’s the problem. There’s hardly any western left in country music. And when I say ‘western,’ I mean saddle stuff, horse stuff, outdoor rural living. Once in a while, somebody will write a tongue-in-cheek thing about a f—–g tractor, but it’s just lip service, right? ●
– – Corb Lund.
It’s tough to explain to everyone, but it takes so much to break your songs. When we signed our major label deal, we started making less money at that point than we had before, because of all the obligations we had in terms of promoting the records or the singles. We also have sacrificed a great amount of time from home. We’ve had to take advantage of every opportunity that has come our way to break out. I think the term ‘sell-out’ is a bogus one. If anyone could really witness what it takes to break your songs, they would understand what a completely bogus idea that is in this day and age. ●
– – Mike Eli (Eli Young Band) on the inevitable ‘sell-out’ accusations that seem to dog any successful regional act attempting to break out on the national scene.
Stylistically it is hard to find your voice. On top of that, if you do find a unique voice of your own, it’s harder to make it work in today’s country music. You wind up trying to find ways to fit in. I don’t try to be unique because I don’t like modern country, that’s not the case. I try to be unique because I thought that was the point. ●
– – Jack Ingram finds the business aspect of the music business a little frustrating.
In my head, it’s good, but then I start questioning, ‘Oh my gosh, what if it’s just good to me? Nobody every thinks they’re making a bad album, but then some come out and they’re not very good. So where does that leave me and how do I fit into that?’ So I just get nervous. I want people to like what I’m doing as much as I love it. And that’s a little scary when you think about it. ●
– – Just in case you thought the Carrie Underwoods of the world are immune to insecurity.