Quotable Country – 08/02/15 Edition

Click the bullet after each quote to visit the source.

There’s really good pop music. I love Shania Twain. I love Come on Over. I listened to that a million times. It’s not even that I mind pop. I’m just not sure what some of the stuff that’s being played now, what category that fits in, except bad. So I hope it doesn’t stay that way. […] Radio is an interesting game and I know a lot about it. Maybe one of these days I’ll speak more and tell a few secrets about how that works because the audience really does get gypped. But I’m going to keep my mouth shut, for now.
— Ashley Monroe to The Bluegrass Situation.

I don’t disagree that some of them sound a little more radio-friendly than others, but I didn’t do anything intentionally to make a song just for radio. Like “On to Something Good,” that’s a positive, uptempo song that moves me and reminds me to keep going. That didn’t work for radio, ironically. I went on a radio tour and everything in it still didn’t work. […] If none of them ever see the light of radio day, I’m still proud of them. And that’s important to me, that I don’t put songs on the record just for radio. Because then it’s not your record anymore.
— Ashley Monroe to Rolling Stone Country’s Stephen L. Betts.

“Look,” Grady says. “We did almost 100,000 of Like a Rose without 20 seconds of airplay anywhere.”
“I won’t go to sleep tonight worrying about radio,” Esposito says.
“Here’s who she is,” Grady says, warming to the notion. “She’s Randy Newman. You let her make records. Record after record. And then some funny thing is gonna hit.”
“In the meantime,” Esposito grins, “she’s a magnet bringing quality people in. I’ll make my money off other people.”
“What are they gonna do?” Grady asks.
Esposito shrugs. “They can fire us.”
— Ashley Monroe’s manager (John Grady) and label head (John Esposito), quoted by Slate discussing the approach they’re taking with her.

In many respects, country music is primed for a female revolution. The talent pool is ripe and endless, and the desire of many to see females regain their stature in the genre is fervent. But it’s going to require taking chances, looking outside the box, and not lumping females together in token gestures of attention, but setting them toe to toe with their males counterparts, championing their individual strengths instead of trying to rely on strength in numbers, and focusing on songs that resonate beyond gender bias by breaking through preconceptions to speak right to the heart of listeners.
— Saving Country Music’s Kyle Coroneos.

no more excuses folks
no more blaming music row
no more midnight good time picking parties
being ruined by the guy or girl who has to bring up
how uncool pop country music has become
o.k. nikki lane?
can we all get back to picking now?
what ever country music has become
how ever much you dislike bro country
— Todd Snider on what Jason Isbell’s success means for artists.

The city gets a bad rap because there’s a lot of terrible music on pop radio stations that has been created on Music Row. But without that money and talent, I don’t think independent artists would be able to do what they do in Nashville. The trickle-down effect has benefited a lot of us who are not making mainstream country music, but still have access to the same studios and producers as those big names. Engineers who spend all day making hit records will go home after work and record in their basements with people who are making actual good records. Without the pop-country world I don’t know that the independent music scene in Nashville would be as strong. Sly people have learned to take advantage of that.
— Jason Isbell, in an especially good chat with Vulture’s Joe Jacobs.

That being said, I do discuss race in a couple of my lyrics if you pay close attention. But I’m a white male. I feel like people are tired of hearing about what white males have to say about race. I will participate in the discussion, but I’m not going to claim any kind of insightful perspective because I’m very privileged, and I have been since I was born. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but I grew up with a lot of opportunities that many people don’t have. I talk about my own experience. I tell my own stories. Whatever kind of moral you want to glean from that, whatever kind of description of the South you want to take out of my personal story, that’s fine with me.
— Jason Isbell, same Vulture interview. Go read it.

On every record we’ve let them in on what we like, what we don’t like, who we like to party with. We’re very transparent with our lyrics…
— Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley, for whom “transparency” equals revealing personal details such as libation preferences and who you like to party with.

You think country songs lack eloquence? How could that be with such riveting titles as “Fly,” “Dibs,” “Yup” and “Gonna”?
— Edward Morris’ chart reports are worth reading for bits like this.

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with some of those songs. On tour we’ll listen to those stations a bit and just laugh. But then it gets depressing after a while, and I feel like I need to take a shower.
— Lydia Loveless on modern mainstream country.

There’s an entirely new generation that are at least addressing the cultural expression in some form. Look, is Sam Hunt the same as Randy Travis? Hell no. But who said he has to be? […] What’s “real” is what’s done in earnest, with any individual artist, with the purest sense of their true expression of themselves in that moment. It’s easy to get sucked in. Look, I was championing my heroes when I got a chance to talk, going back 30 some years ago. I was rabidly beating the drum for the traditional forms of country music that I thought had been overlooked and had been lost to a generation of musicians. I was thrilled to be able to do it again and perform it and have it be commercially successful and be able to make a living doing it. But it never meant to me that it had to be the only thing.
— Dwight Yoakam to Aquarium Drunkard. Good read.

I don’t think we need to put people in one box, there’s room for everybody. I love country music but I’m not George Strait and I’m not going to try to be him or Garth Brooks or Kenny Chesney.
— Chase Rice.

Same Trailer was hailed as revolutionary, but today’s leaders of the revolution become tomorrow’s statesmen, if they’re successful. Musgraves was, wildly so. Pageant Material is a perfectly fine, fun, catchy album, but it feels like a lesser B-side, Same Trailer-lite. (It essentially is: much of the material was written during the same period, but didn’t make the first cut.) The album’s single, “Biscuits,” is a boxed-mix version of “Follow Your Arrow,” which was fresh enough, then, to feel homemade. Now it’s one among many.
— Mairead Small Staid, writing for Jezebel.

OK, settle down. You’re about to hear the truth. That is that we’re both speechless, and that’s saying something for a Haggard. It’s an extraordinary day.
— Lillian Haggard Rea, Merle’s older sister, on seeing the family boxcar moved to the Kern County Museum.

We looked out into this sea of, basically, kids [who] looked like Marilyn Manson. They all had the long black hair, and they had lunch boxes… I thought for sure stuff was going to come out of those lunch boxes, and they were going to throw them at us. We played our most country set. In those days, we were this hardcore, real rockabilly, punkish sort of country band, so we played every Hank Williams and Merle Haggard song that we knew. And those kids went nuts. I think after a while, they were just like, ‘All right, these guys are all right. They at least have a lot of balls, that’s for sure.’
— Raul Malo on a time The Mavericks opened for Marilyn Manson.

“I write for people like me who enjoy the things I enjoy and who also have had some of the same life experiences: the heartache and late nights, and maybe the terrible relationships that—” he hesitates, before concluding, “the self-destructive kind of personality. That’s what I write about.”
— Whitey Morgan.

You know what I honestly believe? I think it’s psychosomatic. I think people really want somebody right now to sound like Waylon Jennings. They want somebody to walk out on stage with a big, giant flag that says, ‘F**k You.’ Believe me, it is frustrating, because it makes me feel like I haven’t done a very good job of really getting my [own] voice down. It’s like, ‘Am I not very original in my approach?’ But. . .there’s a hell of a lot worse things you can be told than, ‘Hey man, you sound like Waylon Jennings.’ I’ll take it a compliment, even when I’m burnt the f**k out hearing it.
— Sturgill Simpson on the Waylon comparisons that won’t quit.

I was very surprised after that fiasco that anybody would have any interest in anything we did.
— Randy Owen on the underperformance – due to mishandled promotion, he says – of that Alabama & Friends tribute album from a couple years ago.

… it’s kind of that sophomore record thing where you’re overthinking everything, from picking songs to writing songs, from our side and from the label’s side, everybody . . . well, once you taste the success, everybody wants to have kind of a say on how the next project goes, and I think that slowed down the process to where it wasn’t as much fun as it had been in the past.
— Eli Young Band’s Jon Jones on 10,000 Towns.

I listen to James [Taylor] more than anyone else. It’s a good place to keep my mind.
— Mo Pitney.

She said, ‘No matter how successful you get, give God the credit.’ I said, ‘I will. But I’m keeping the cash.’
— Dolly Parton, recounting motherly advice during a show at The Ryman.

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  1. the pistolero says

    I’m not George Strait

    Damn right you’re not, Chase Rice. You’re not fit to lick the manure off that man’s boots, and don’t you forget it.

    • CraigR. says

      Amen. George Strait wasn’t a product marketed and controlled by recording executives trying to appeal to a limited minded female audience. Chase Rice has nothing of value to offer country music except to help in the cheapening of its name.

  2. says

    I hate when these artists defend themselves by saying that they’re not somebody else. Well, duh! We’re not calling you out for not being George Strait, so stop using that as a defense/excuse.

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