Quotable Country – 12/23/12 Edition

Since we customarily take the Sunday between Christmas and New Years off, this abbreviated edition will be the last Quotable Country of 2012. Thanks for sticking with us through another year.

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

I’m a big Hayes Carll fan, I love his work. His sense of humor is close to Shel Silverstein. I plan on writing with him in the future.
– – Hayes Carll has a fan in Bobby Bare.

Here’s the problem, man – and this is a longer conversation about a whole other thing – but what I started talking about earlier, and it’s my main concern in life, is that the audience and the artists need, I believe, need curators. They need people like you, who study culture carefully, that think about it carefully and try to shed light on things that are good and talk about things that aren’t as good. That’s an important role in the culture; and you and I have similar roles in a way – it’s a curatorial role to say, you know, when I’m working with Lisa Marie Presley, what I’m saying is, “I worked with Lisa Marie Presley, and I heard this, and it was good and listen to this; this is worth listening to; this is worth documenting and holding on to.”
– – T Bone Burnett sees record producers and music journalists in a similar curatorial role.

But, of course, corporate country radio is big business. You have to be safe. You have to program based on research. (Research being, “What do you think of this eight-second snippet of a song, as played through your cellphone?”) You can’t take chances. Challenge the listener too much and you could lose a fortune.
A fortune, compared to what? The fortunes are in Hollywood. Why is it that Hollywood finds commercial value in endeavors like the bluegrass-based “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack? (Approximately 60 zillion sold, of songs by artists deemed non-commercial by country radio.)
– – Peter Cooper, in a witty, provocative Tennessean piece on why the music of the “Nashville” soap opera is better than much of the music on mainstream country radio.

I’m not holding back. So this honor reinforces that I made the right decisions and that I picked the right songs. It’s an honest album. And that might be what they heard — the honesty in the music. […] This album was not made easily. It took a long time to make. And I fought hard to make a traditional-sounding album. Now, I’m glad I fought for the songs I wanted to be on there. It was worth the work and the wait.
– – Kellie Pickler, on 100 Proof being named the best country album of 2012 by Rolling Stone.

We went out of our way to go into regions to encourage country singers this year, because I kept reading about people saying I don’t like country music. I don’t understand it that much because I’m a Brit, but I do like it and I understand how commercial it is. So, I’m very happy that a country artist won the show and I think we’re going to now attract more country artists for next year.
– – Simon Cowell on the “X Factor” victory of 37-year-old Missourian Tate Stevens.

I probably am my own worst enemy, because I won’t do the things that people expect me to do. I don’t see people after concerts – not even my own family. When I walk offstage, I go right to the bus. Or I take a car, and I leave. I don’t stay there. […] I want you to come there to hear the music and to see me. And I can deal with that from the stage, but once I walk off that stage, then I go back to bein’ David Allan Coe, farm boy, ex-convict. And I feel like my total lifestyle and the things that I believe in are so foreign to the masses that I have nothing really to communicate with them, on any kind of level. I don’t feel like standin’ out there and havin’ people pull at me, or shout at me, or ask me questions. It’s nothing that I enjoy doing. I enjoy singing. And I feel like that’s what people pay to hear, and that’s what I do. I’m not a comedian. I don’t tell jokes. I sing. And when I get through singin’, I gave you what you paid for, and I leave. It’s like when you walk in a store and buy a television set, you pay your money and you take your TV home. You don’t sit there in the store and watch it. And if you’re a mailman, you don’t take a walk on your day off.
– – From a 1980s interview with David Allan Coe, one of 27 chapters in Alanna Nash’s illuminating Q&A collection Behind Closed Doors: Talking with the Legends of Country Music. Recommended reading if you’ve got some holiday downtime.

I think last year’s Palomino was a gateway drug and now I am staring down a long dark hallway of beautiful, perfectly-sharpened grey Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils with black erasers. Now it’s all I think about. How do black erasers remove pencil lead and make it disappear into the white of the paper???
The top is one of the oldest toys in the world. They say that the spinning top originated independently in cultures all over the world. To me, it is one of the most fascinating and hypnotizing examples of physics. Get one and see how long you stare.
– – From Kristian Bush’s list of holiday gift recommendations. Evidently written while stoned.

Here’s a clip on Tate Stevens, who I imagine we’ll be hearing more from early next year.

New posts, by email, whenever we’ve got ’em.


  1. says

    How do black erasers remove pencil lead and make it disappear into the white of the paper???

    Thanks a lot, Kristian Bush. Now I’ll be up all night trying to figure that one out….

  2. Rick says

    It would be nice if the AirHeads who ran Top 40 Country Radio saw themselves as curators the way T-Bone does rather than dispensers of market friendly mediocrity for the masses. Peter Cooper mentioned this in his ruminations about “Nashville” that the cream of the country music crop rarely rises to the top on mainstream country radio. In fact in most cases it can’t even get in the door…

    That was nice of those wacked out leftists at Rolling Stone to recognize the integrity of Kellie Pickler’s “100 Proof”. It may not have been a big seller but I think it will develop a reputation over time that will identify it as a benchmark album standing in direct opposition to the overall decline and fall of mainstream country music. Its sad that Kellie’s career defining album was the least commercially successful.

    I think there’s a bit of Shel Silverstein in Corb Lund as well! With a slight bit of hoser-ism of course.

    I was reading the audience numbers on X-Factor were way down and it got crushed by “The Voice” as far as big network TV talent quests go. We’ll see if Simon Cowell has the Nashville connections to get this Tate Steven’s guy airplay on AirHead Country Radio. He’s no Carrie Underwood as he lacks the mass appeal to the millions of pop culture zombies out there…

    • Eric says

      “100 Proof” was essentially sabotaged by Sony. They did very little to promote the album and released only 2 songs from it to radio, the first of which was one of the 3 worst songs on the album! “100 Proof” is full of songs that could have become hit country radio singles.

      I think Kellie Pickler should Sony for handling the promotion and the single releases so poorly.

  3. Mike K says

    I laughed out loud at Bobby Bare’s comment about whether he or Tom T. Hall was the better drinker when I clicked through to the full interview. Hilarious!

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