What characteristic do you most like about yourself?
My honesty. My attraction to things that scare me. You know…like getting up in front of people and doing anything! (laughs)
And what do you like least?
My impatience. Sometimes I forget why time exists—so everything doesn’t happen at once!
What was the last book you read?
Black Boy by Richard Wright.
Who would you most like to meet?
I’ve already met enough people. But if the circumstances were right, I wouldn’t mind meeting Leonard Cohen.
What are you going to be when you grow up?
Hard to say. I’m a work in progress.
Who has most inspired you?
Musically? Well, early on…Elvis. Then the girl groups like The Shirelles and Martha and the Vandellas. After I got to Nashville and was writing songs…Waylon and Willie and Kristofferson and those guys…Roger Miller, Jack Clement, Johnny Cash. And I should mention Cindy Walker. After I started playing rock and roll, the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Bob Seger. As for books, just off the top of my head…Truman Capote, Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor. This past summer, I read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I love books that widen my parameters of judgment.
Who is your favorite artist?
Edward Hopper. The Sleeping Gypsy by Rousseau is my favorite painting.
What are you most proud of?
Pride’s a dangerous word. But the strongest sense of satisfaction I ever felt was finishing the first draft of my first book. I even remember the date. Valentine’s Day, 2001.
There’s no place like it!
Which of your songs are you most proud of?
The one I just finished.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d have more faith.
Are you happy with where you’re heading?
Yes, I am. In the sense that I enjoy what I do.
What’s your mantra?
Love more, worry less.
What’s it like being you these days?
I’m pretty laid back. When I’m not out performing, I’m a total homebody.
What talent would you most like to have?
I don’t know…fly through the air like Michael Jordan and dunk a basketball?
What is your most treasured possession?
My autographed picture of Robert Mitchum.
What is your greatest regret?
That I didn’t record a duet album with Tim Krekel last year like we talked about.
Describe your perfect evening.
On a cold winter’s eve—eating pot roast by the fire with Chris, then settling down on the sofa to watch a great movie.
You have five minutes left to live; what are you going to do?
If it’s a sunny day, hang the laundry out on the line in the back yard.