The 40 Best Quotes About Country Music

Tyler Mahan Coe

Having been born the son of David Allan Coe, Country Music has played a pivotal role in my existence.

Look back to 1987 and you’ll find me there, four years old, decked out in custom rhinestone suits, microphone in hand, largely unaware of the impact my father and his “Outlaw” friends were making on the world with their music. Country music is a powerful force, in the hands of the right people.

Today, the right people seem to be getting fewer and farther between… But we still have the music. We still have the words. Let’s look at what I consider to be some of the most meaningful quotes about Country Music, like one great story told in many different voices.

I was captured by the songs as much as the singer. They grabbed my heart. The reality of Country Music moved me. Even when I was a kid, I liked the sad songs… songs that talked about true life. I recognized this music as a simple plea. It beckoned me.-Harlan Howard

country-music-quote

I don’t know why we like [Country Music.] Some of it I don’t think we do like […] I think it speaks to our basic fundamental feelings, you know. Of emotions. Of love. Of breakup. Of Love and Hate and Death and Dying. Mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, Country Music does.-Johnny Cash

It didn’t make much difference what time of night it was, whenever [my father would] come in drunk, he’d say, “Get up and sing me some songs." We didn’t want to sing but we sang.-George Jones

[My parents] worked hard all week long, and the way they celebrated and rejoiced in life was by making music on weekends. And that music was Country Music.-Rodney Crowell

It’s just a sound, and a feeling that’s in the music. And you either hear it and appreciate it, or you don’t.-Emmylou Harris

Oh, I think it’s definitely spiritual. All music is. I think it’s maybe one of the highest forms of spirituality.-Willie Nelson

I am deeply stoned on the intoxicating effects of [Country Music.]-Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels & Rope)

You’ve got to capture an audience. You don’t go out there and just sing, or just play. If you can’t capture an audience, you might as well not be out there.-Roy Acuff

That’s a defining moment, there, when someone plays an instrument that everyone relates to around the planet.-Neil Young

[Europe has] this tradition of self revelation in popular music. We have it here – it’s called Country Western Music… I think that’s where the deeper and more complex subjects are treated.-Leonard Cohen

This ain’t no dress rehearsal, we are professionals, and this is the Big Time.-Waylon Jennings

They kept calling [Hank Williams, Sr.], wanting him to record something, and finally they said, “What the hell’s it gonna take to cure you of your sore throat?" And he said, “I think about $25,000 would do it." So they sent it down and he recorded.-Chet Atkins

It used to be that you’d have a song recorded by a major Country artist and, if it was a hit, you could buy a car. Now you can buy a dealership.-Tom T. Hall

With Country Music, you have one hit and those people love you forever.-Kenny Rogers

Lo and behold, after the show, [Ralph Stanley], who is 80-something, was out at the merch booth talking to his fans. Utterly polite and no star attitude or anything. That’s a really great thing about Country Music, […] people don’t develop that attitude. Fans are important because they’re people that genuinely got something from your music.-Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light)

I don’t really listen to Radiohead. I listened to the albums and they just didn’t move me in the way, say, John Prine does. His is just extraordinarily eloquent music.-Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

I guess what I always found funny was the human condition. There is a certain comedy and pathos to trouble and accidents. Like, when a driver has parked his car crookedly and then wonders why he has the bad luck of being hit.-John Prine

You want to know what Country songwriting is? Country songwriting is primitive, monophonic, poetical composition. It’s different from art music […], classical music, or chamber music. […] I explained that to Hank Cochran the other day, and he said, “Now that I know what I do, I think I’ll quit."-Tom T. Hall

Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.-Steve Earle

I’ve met Bob Dylan’s bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table, he’s sadly mistaken.-Townes Van Zandt

I started writing songs after I heard Hank Williams.-Bob Dylan

Songwriters are still the brightest people in any room.-Bobby Bare

When I first got to Nashville, somebody said that [Kris Kristofferson and I] were the only two people who could describe Dolly Parton without using their hands.-Tom T. Hall

I may look fake but I’m real where it counts.-Dolly Parton

I write like I talk.-Roger Miller

I sing like I talk.-Rodney Crowell

Maybe you’re not going to be Stephen Hawking, but you might be able to build a great song, […] it’s just like writing a book, it’s just the chapters go by much faster.-Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co.)

The reason you write [songs] is because there’s something you want to say that is important to you – enough to go through all the torture of writing.-Emmylou Harris

The last song I recorded with [Hank Williams, Sr.] was “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive." I remember thinking, “Hoss, you’re not just jivin’," because he was so weak that all he could do was sing a few lines and then just fall in the chair.-Chet Atkins

To be part of what you’re singing about is somewhat painful. You’ve got to climb inside it all.-Merle Haggard

We attended a recording scene in Nashville, and Buck Owens, wow, that guy. He and his friends, they get drunk and drive 200 mph down the street: “Can you hit that mail box?" ’Sure, I can hit that mail box!’ Wrap the car around it in the middle of winter and have to walk 60 miles to the next town. They’re just insane.-Frank Zappa

People get strange about whether you’ve written your own songs, which seems really stupid considering that, especially in Country Music, it’s about oral tradition and passing things on and the songs weren’t meant to be played by one person and then forgotten.-Neko Case

[Country Music] is the final destination for many punk rockers […] Rockabilly is the mid-point and then [they] end up at Country […] There’s purity to that music and I think that appeals to a lot of punk rock people – the precision, the purity, and the directness of Country Music.-John C. Reilly

I was just like, “Know what? We could use [Country Music] to really hurt punk rockers’ feelings." Because I was starting to hate [punk rockers.]-Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets)

I remember people would talk about Country Music like it was this sexist, lame thing. Well, no, because Dolly Parton is writing songs and playing her guitar and producing. She’s doing it all and she’s got hits on the radio.-Neko Case

I love Country Music but what happened to it?-Bob Dylan

[Modern Country Music is] a lot different than what I call Country. I enjoy the videos with the sound off, where you can look at the belly buttons and everything. Really, some pretty girls, but I don’t know about the music.-Merle Haggard

I’m really annoyed by the wave of Country Music [songs with lyrics that are] just a list of stuff […] “My pickup truck and my cowboy boots and my Levi’s jeans and my girlfriend with the short shorts." It’s so boring.-Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre)

I’m trying to make records where people don’t feel cheated. Nashville has been guilty of insulting the Country Music audience for years and years.-Steve Earle

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