1. WHERE WERE YOU BORN, WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Born and raised in Georgetown, Kentucky, where Elijah Craig invented bourbon.
2. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY?
I remember eating a mountain of fried chicken at a family reunion then skipping stones in Elkhorn Creek while the old people sang hymns and Stephen Foster.
3. WHAT WAS THE FIRST RECORD YOU OWNED?
I saved up a month's allowance and bought "Big Bad John" at The Five and Dime.
4. WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST PERFORMANCE?
The square-dance pavilion of Levi Jackson Park, summer 1975. I was outfitted like a Flying Burrito Brother. Minus the tasteful restraint.
5. WHO IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
It's a what, not a who: The Band's "brown album," the holy grail of Americana music in my book.
6. WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CONCERT YOU'VE ATTENDED?
A Levon Helm Midnight Ramble at his studio, August 2008.
7. WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CONCERT YOU'VE PLAYED?
The most memorable in a good way was sound check at Appalachian Folk Week at the Hindman Settlement School with Jean Richey in the wings. Doing "Talk About Suffering" a capella to a room full of musicians who all knew the song inside out.
8. WHAT IS THE WORST JOB YOU'VE EVER HAD?
Nine months as a cafeteria dishwasher.
9. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MEANT BY THE WORD ARTIST?
What I mean by it is a disciplined master craftsman with a sense of wonder. When someone says, "I wrote this song on a napkin while I finished a Corona," I run.
10. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
I'm reading a book of short stories by William Gay: I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down.
11. IS THE MUSIC INDUSTRY BETTER NOW OR WHEN YOU STARTED?
Well, this is a paradox. The industry is better now because, for people who love independent music, the industry is irrelevant.
12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG ON THE ALBUM, AND WHAT THE BEST THING FOR YOU ABOUT THIS NEW ALBUM?
"The Sideshow" digs the deepest, I think. Something I enjoyed with this album was just taking my time. Savoring the song-building as much as the songwriting.
13. WHAT IS THE FAVOURITE SONG SOMEONE ELSE HAS WRITTEN (AT THE MOMENT)?
The best song by someone else on my album is by the greatest songwriter of all time: Anonymous. "Lost John" by Anon. Anon. has been at it since well before even "The Twa Corbies."
14. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT MODERN LIFE?
15. WHAT'S THE WORST?
The worst thing is that giant corporations are poisoning our air and water.
16. WHAT SINGLE THING HAS HELPED YOU MOST IN YOUR CAREER?
The life-changer was the day my father brought home a guitar. He bought it for forty bucks on a Lexington streetcorner. "From an old boy from Harlan," he said. "Looking for the pawnshop." I'd been playing the hell out of a cracked ukelele. So either my dad figured if I could play that, I could play this. Or he was just sick to death of hearing that ukelele.
17. WHAT SINGLE THING HAS HINDERED YOUR CAREER?
18. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK?
Bourbon on the rocks, no water.
19. WHO'S YOUR FAVOURITE POLITICIAN?
20. WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN IN 2011?
Everyone coming to their senses.
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