I've had some shows where I really plan out what I'm going to say. Then I've had other shows where I'm like, 'Take a sip of the Ole Smoky Moonshine and just let it be natural and cross your fingers that you say the right things.'
My dog Jake ran up to Dolly Parton, and he put his nose up her skirt. We were like, 'Oh my God, don't do that.' I didn't know Dolly, and she said, 'Watch out there little doggie, don't start something you can't finish.'
I hung out with Merle Haggard on his bus, which sort of freaks me out. It was him and his wife. We played with Merle in Oklahoma City. I'm from Arizona, and we talked about Arizona, and he remembered playing for two dollars a day down there at a bar.
People are gravitating towards Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders because they are doing their own thing. I think people are trying to cut out the middle man and just get to the source and get away from Washington politics.
Where I'm at in my relationship with my wife or my family and life in general, I feel like it all comes out in the music. Hopefully, it's always there, but in an ambiguous and abstract way and not real straightforward.
I started thinking about this truck and why do I still have this same truck? After all of these years, why am I holding on to that? I just starting thinking about other things: guitars, boots and jeans. I just had a tendency to hold on to the things that have meaning to me.
I ask myself all the time, 'Why keep doing this?' If I wasn't exploring or finding something to write about that was personal or meant something, there'd be no reason. If I was ever making a record just to make a record, or ever just like, 'Just put something out there that someone will buy,' I would quit.
I'm part of the party, getting the crowd fired up, singing songs, pouring drinks, whatever it takes to get them to have a good time. When I walk into the meet-and-greet, someone's always going to have a story, a sad story or a happy story.
Country music is always changing but the Opry is always there to serve as a lighthouse for what country music really is. The past, present and future is all encompassed by not only the physical structure of the building but also the radio show.
But as far as being an American and loving this country and getting a chance to travel across it every day and meeting people on the road and folks in the military, I love this country on so many different levels.
It's not that you can do this calculated move to try to further your career. You just follow what's in your heart, and later you look back and go, 'I was either really dumb or really smart, I can't believe I did that.'
That's how I feel, oddly, when I walk on stage in front of 20,000 people, and it's crazy, the madness: I feel the most relaxed and free, and all of my worries and troubles just are gone. Just I feel the most present in that moment.