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Q & A

Q and A: Inside Country Music

Jerry Hill Talks about Country Music:

Q.  The popularity of country music seems to have its ups and downs. Do you consider this an “up” time for country music?
A.  Moneywise, yes it is an up time as the industry has made “tons” of money with pop sounding crossover hits. Traditional country music is still around with newer stars such as George Strait & Alan Jackson, but listen to a controversial new song; a duet by both of them, “Murder On Music Row.” This song tells the current story of the state of affairs with the country music industry as it is now. It is sad that the icons of country, such as Merle Haggard and George Jones, rarely get played on the major country music radio stations today.

Q.  When you hear someone sing any given country song, does it occur to you how you’d do the same song?
A.  I sing a song the way I feel it personally. Everyone has their own “spin” on how a song should sound. Don Gibson wrote and recorded, “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” I feel it’s one of the true country classic songs. You could feel his heart and almost see his soul when he performed it. But I also love the way Ray Charles did the song and several other artists as well.

Q.  If you could sing a duet with anyone, living or from the past, with whom would you sing?
A.  I would love to have done a duet with the late, great Patsy Cline! In my opinion, there’s no better female singer than her past or present! Today, just let me sing a duet with George Jones, as he is one of the greatest of all times!

Q.  Do you hang out with other entertainers?
A.  As I am presently performing solo with house bands and don’t have a band, I don’t hang with musicians. But no one is more fun to hang with! I have hung with musicians off and on all my life and they are a ball to be around.

Q.  It’s said that country music fans are the most loyal. Do you have any insight about this?
A.  No one was more loyal than a country music fan. Not too many years back if you had one major hit record/song; you could count on that loyalty for years to come. Today, you have some country stars that still fall in that same category, but more that don’t. Ever notice how many younger country artists on major labels were very big “yesterday” and today a lot of people don’t remember their names? It wasn’t like that in the past. An artist could have a big hit, then be dry for awhile and the fans would stick with him.

Q.  Do established country artists help up-and-coming country talent?
A.  Country stars of the past would give a helping hand to younger artists to help them financially, give them a place to stay, help them with their career, etc. Yes, while some of that still goes on, I don’t think it is as prevalent as years past. It’s BIG money today!

Q.  What size venue do you like to play?
A.  I prefer a smaller venue as it gives me a chance to relate to the audience in a more personal way. A huge auditorium is fine for the excitement and the "thrill of a huge crowd,” but I personally like the more intimate venue.

Q.  Do you have a favorite place at which to record?
A.  I love to record in Nashville as I feel the musicians there are the best country music pickers in the industry. Los Angeles has some great country pickers, but Nashville has a sense of history and electricity about it. I have recorded in several states, but to my way of thinking, Nashville is what it is all about. Nashville “fires me up!”

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