As per tradition, this final column for 2000 contains my favorite quotes from interviews this year:
"RAMBLIN" TOMMY SCOTT, on turning 83: "I smoked cigars for many years, but I didn't inhale. I'm 6 feet tall and weigh 165 pounds and have for 30 years. I'm happy as a lark. I'm always doing something. There's no telling what I'll be doing when I get to be 100."
JENNIFER KINLEY of the sister duo the Kinleys: "The music business is never going to be more important than our family, as much as we love it. It's just a business to us now. It's not the same big dream anymore that we grew up watching on TV."
MARIJOHN WILKIN, on writing her first big hit with John D. Loudermilk: "John and I had a standing meeting to write once a week. My hymn book at one session was turned to When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder. We couldn't seem to come up with anything that really worked. I told John, `It looks like we've met our Waterloo.' John said, `Waterloo. Waterloo,' and I said, `When will you meet your Waterloo?' John got his guitar and started singing and playing to the tune of When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, and within a half-hour we had our song."
BILL ANDERSON, joking about his 1960s hit, 8 x 10, about a framed photograph: "A lady requested my song 8 x 10 one night. We didn't have much time left in the show. So I only did 4 x 5."
LYNN HOUSTON, on singing with Augusta band Majic: "Other than my husband, music is my best friend. I feel more at ease when I sing than almost any other time. Augusta is a good place for singers because there have been so many good ones coming out of this area. These people are hard on you, and want you to do your best every time."
KITTY WELLS, the first Queen of Country Music: "I've tried to be a plain, everyday person. I've never thought of myself as a star. The way I live is the way I was brought up ... to be an honest, caring person. I've never tried to change that. You never know who out there is watching you."
R.L. WORKMAN of Bath, on riding a bus more than 11 hours to see Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw: "I ended up getting a seat on the front row for the show. Excuse my language, but I had one helluva time. They had some comment cards, and I wrote on one saying, `Doug, when it comes to putting on a show, nobody can hold a candle to you."'
CHAD BROCK, on his high school chorus teacher: "It was not so much what she taught me musically but what she taught me stylistically. She taught me not to just open your mouth and sing, but to let it roar!"
VALERIE DeLaCRUZ: "I had someone say, `How long will you give it before you go and do something else?' I just had this blank look. I don't ever see not doing my music. It comes down to finding a way for music to be in your life one way or the other."
JIM ED BROWN, on recording his hit Pop a Top Again: "Felton (Jarvis) thought we should try to incorporate that pop-top sound in the recording. There was, and still is, a little curb market about two blocks from the RCA studio. ... Jimmy (Dean), tight as he is, agreed to pay for a case of whatever we bought. We decided against beer because we thought we might not finish the session. So, we got a case of Dr. Pepper. The first can we popped was all it took. It really was a Dr. Pepper can (and not a beer can) you hear on that record."
JOAN BAEZ: "When I was 8 years old, the first crush I had on a record was that of the Sons of the Pioneers. I loved all of their songs (like Cool Clear Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds). Probably I remember them from a greatest-hits album. They were so well known, and they were so good."
CINDY WILSON, lead vocalist, B-52's: "I think I have a kind of country voice in a way. I liked the classic country like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. ... Cosmic Thing was a nostalgic kind of Southern album; not quite country, but it definitely has country influence."
CHARLES LAMB, bus driver for the stars, on narrowly missing a 60-pound boulder that rolled onto the road, "I hit it solid and blew out a front tire and suffered a bent axle. We were going down a steep grade, and I couldn't stop without burning up the brakes. I had to stand up from the seat and manhandle the steering wheel until the bus came to a stop at the bottom of the canyon. I was shaking for hours, and all I could think about was how close I had come to me going down or killing or injuring an artist and damaging the bus. That would have ended my driving career in just a split second."
TRACE ADKINS: "In gospel music, if you weren't up there singing what you believed, then you felt like a hypocrite. I still think that way. I can't sing songs that I just don't feel like aren't me. Plus, at the end of my career, I've got to look back on my collection of music as a representation of who I am or who I was and all that stuff. If it's not real, it won't mean anything."