“The boys working on the house are named Calvin, Ronnie, and Earl, who’re under a contractor named Jesse Parrish. They sing hymns from ladder tops, and keep buttermilk and Rainbo Pickles in my refrigerator.”more info
source: letter to William Maxwell, October 23, 1972, in What There Is to Say We Have Said, ed. by Suzanne Mars (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011), 295.
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“We started talking about songs, and he mentioned one, and I said, ‘I don’t know that one.’ And he mentioned another. I said, ‘I don’t know that one either, Dad,’ and he became very alarmed that I didn’t know what he considered my own musical genealogy…So he spent the rest of the afternoon making a list for me, and at the end of the day, he said this is your education. And across the top of the page, he wrote, ‘100 essential country songs.’”more info
medium: Interviewvia: Austin Kleon
“Songs are really just very interesting things to be doing with the air.”more info
source: Induction speech, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, originally broadcast on Fuse TV, March 20, 2011.
“Kit Bramblett, the county attorney for Hudspeth County in West Texas, where Mr. Nelson was arrested on a marijuana possession charge last year, has said he will allow Mr. Nelson to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count if he pays a small fine—and performs ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ in court.”more info
source: “Willie Nelson May Be Able to Sing His Way Out of Pot Bust,” The New York Times, March 29, 2011.
medium: Newspaper articlevia: The Bronze Medal
“Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang ‘Cherry Ripe,’ and another uncle sang ‘Drake’s Drum.’ It was very warm in the little house.
Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird’s Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.”
source: “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” in The Collected Stories (New York: New Directions, 1986), 302–303.
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“Music is like acupuncture—the exact same treatment, the exact same songs, even the exact same recording will move people, even the same people at different times, in very different ways. If someone is unmoved, its none of my business—I don’t mind, I don’t care.”more info
source: response to Rick Moody’s Blog post “Swinging Modern Sounds #24: A Magician of the Highest Degree,” The Rumpus, June 20, 2010.
medium: Blog comment
“The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs.”more info
source: “The Littlest Birds,” The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse (Nettwerk Records, September, 2001).
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notes: Jolie Holland co-wrote this song with Samantha Parton
“I cried for the boyfriends I was no longer with, the people and places I no longer knew very well, for my parents and grandparents ailing and stuck in Florida, their tough, unchanging forms conjured only in memory: a jewel box kept in a medicine cabinet in the attic of a house on the moon; that’s where their unchanging forms were kept. I cried for everyone and for all the scrabbly, funny love one sent out into the world like some hit song that enters space and bounds off to another galaxy, a tune so pretty you think the words are true, you do! There was never any containing a song like that, keeping it. It went off and out, speeding out of earshot or imagining or any reach at all, like a rocket invented in sleep.”more info