I can stitch a song together in about an hour anytime you want, but it won't have the depth.
Whether they are actual poets or their music exemplifies a poetic sensibility, generally speaking, the Americana artist shuns commercial compromise in favor of a singular vision. Which resonates with me.
I have declared my loyalty to Americana.
With 'Fate's Right Hand,' I think I reached a level of completeness in forming and articulating ideas at around the same time I reached a place where I could match it with my singing voice. It was a kind of coming together.
Since 'Houston Kid,' I've got a pretty good track record. Before that, I wrote some hit songs, but I didn't come into my own until I was about fifty. Before that, I had bursts of talent.
As a poet, Will Rogers just had this natural conversational style.
Favorite country singer of all time... Hank Williams... Well, then there's Willie Nelson. Can I have three? I can't do one. Then if I have three, I'll need five. Hank Williams for sure. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Collaboration is a vital part of my creative life. I've had success with Guy Clark and Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.
'The Outsider' is a culmination of a lot of things I've been working diligently toward as a recording artist. Hopefully it will render my past pigeonholing obsolete while positioning me more solidly as a socially conscious American singer/songwriter. Wouldn't that be entertaining?
I cannot say I'm a poet. That's for someone when they take in consideration where they can bestow 'poet' on. I can't do it. But I would be disingenuous if I didn't say that my intention is poetry.
My family was very poor. Strangely, though, my father was an enigma in that he was always working. He was not a ne'er-do-well. He wasn't lazy. He just couldn't hold on to money. It just, it was an enigma for him. He just, his pockets were always empty.
The beautiful despair is never fruitless. It keeps you going. Like when I first heard Bob Dylan do 'Things Have Changed,' or any time I see any work of art really beautifully done, like Michelangelo's 'The David' or that movie 'Lost in Translation' - it inspires me to try and find my own version of that.
The old handbook on writing is 'Write what you know.' I come from an autobiographical starting place almost all of the time, but it would be a mistake to presume that I'm not using fiction to extend the narrative.
My father took me to see Hank Williams on December 14th, 1952. I was two years and four months of age. And I remember a little cool eddy of hair hitting my cheek, and I remember the smell of his hair oil, and I remember the mingling tonality of the small talk before the show started. Those are my memories.
When I go back to seek inspiration - whether it be from Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, the Beatles, Hank Williams, Ray Charles or Bob Dylan - it's from the performance. Those artists are in the studio playing their instrument and singing. There's no going back and redoing the vocals.
Over the years, I've come to realize that writing 'I Ain't Living Long Like This' was an exercise in combined musical influence, mostly that of Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan - artists no one has ever heard of.
To me, Hank Williams is the first rock-and-roll star.
Underfunded, underwhelmed, and out of their league from the git-go, my parents took to home ownership like horse thieves to a hanging judge.
I will say this: I've always sort of had maybe an inflated sense of my ability to sequence songs in a narrative flow.
As a songwriter, metaphor is instinctual.