The key to change... is to let go of fear,
If a relationship is founded on love it doesn't end.
When I was eleven I stopped dreaming the dreams that didn't come true, I stopped talking to people who didn't listen, I lost hope and I retreated. I assumed that the root of the problem was that I was too strange for the real world. That being the case, I created a charming and dynamic personality to make the necessary forays into the Outside, and I kept my strangeness for myself; my own peculiar jewels under lock and key.
Well, the first year I lost my voice I didn't mind so much because I was going to have a baby and I was distracted with him anyway, I didn't even think about it that much, well, OK, this is what's happening.
And I kind of said to myself if I get my voice back I'm not going to take back the old anxiety about it and just focus on the limitations. I'm really going to enjoy it.
Being in the studio is like painting, you know, you can really take your time, and try different things, and kind of go deep into it.
Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.
It is the people who scream the loudest about America and Freedom who see to be the most intolerant for a differing point of view.
But there's nothing that gives me more thrill than when I'm writing and a couplet works. I find the right rhyme, or it's just perfect. There's nothing that exciting.
You stand in front of a great painting and your heart just opens and your mind expands about what's possible. That, to me, is a connection to what God is.
As John Adams said, all democracies will eventually self-destruct. We seem to be doing it very quickly.
I don't do comparisons because I always lose.
I spent nearly two hours deciding on an outfit that would look as if the subject of clothing had never crossed my mind, but would in fact show off my best features and miraculously hide the extra pounds.
Documenting one's life in the midst of living it is a strange pursuit.
I was angry at my parents when I had to have brain surgery, that they weren't still around, because no matter how old you are you want you parents when you're going through something like that.
Every person's every action has an effect.
Once your kids get older and get out of the house, it's not like it stops. They're on the phone with me every day; I'm intimately involved in their problems.
For me, art is a more trustworthy expression of God than religion.
It was never too late to undo who you had become.
Southern gentility is evocative to me.
With time the unbearable becomes shocking, becomes sad, and finally becomes poignant.
Isn't that the goal, as you grow older? That you start reclaiming those parts of yourself you didn't recognize or didn't think were there all along? That's what happened when I made The River and the Thread record.
Being in Vietnam changed him [Johnny Cash] fundamentally. He was devastated when we went into Iraq.
Just a thank you is a mighty powerful prayer. Says it all.
War is idiocy. We live on a small, small planet, and what we do to others is what we do to ourselves.
The new record started out being about loss, but it's morphed into being about how relationships go on even though one person is not in a body anymore.
Yeah, I was in the phase for the last ten years or so where every record I made I said OK, that's the last one, I don't want to record anymore, I don't want to do this any more, I don't want to have a public life.
We talk about your drinking But not about your thirst You set off through the minefield Like you were rounding first
Sarah Palin is a great example of someone that just stirs the pot for the sake of the attention. No vision, no critical thinking, no backup to her statements. Just to incite little riots everywhere and capitalize upon it financially. To me, she is a microcosm of the ultimate cynicism in American politics.
I wanted to be the writer in the room setting depth charges of feeling out the world with my language.You know, I had a very romantic idea about that.But I grew into being a performer.
I wanted to be a songwriter.I didn't so much want to be a performer.I more grew into that just from being a songwriter.
I think any young person who is going into the same field as their parent whose parent has been very successful, it's complicated.And it was complicated for me.
I was sensitive to music and poetry, and it was around me growing up.
I gave up language for a while, and I started painting.And then I only listened to Miles Davis and other instrumental music to see how it felt to be without words.
I was a songwriter; that was the torch I carried. This is an honorable profession. This is what I do.
I adhere to the religion of art and music and small children.
I think that my sensitivity to music has actually deepened and expanded as I've gotten older. You add more life experience.
We are creating a culture where content creators are a new servant class, and paid as such.
I'm not the type to turn to drugs and alcohol, but I do have a profound devotion to art and music - and children.
If I ignore my work, I start having anxiety attacks.
Sometimes the fragment of a conversation, the color of the sky, the image in a dream, has everything to do with where the song begins.
I have learned to be steady in my course of love, or fear, or loneliness, rather than impulsive in its wasting, either lyrically or emotionally.
If you're playing in a tradition and you have no reference point to it, no understanding and have not studied it, I can't respect that.
As I started writing about loss and grief, I was taking what felt unmanageable and using my songwriting, my sense of poetry and discipline, to try and make it manageable.
I dream of songs. I dream they fall down through the centuries, from my distant ancestors, and come to me. I dream of lullabies and sea shanties and keening cries and rhythms and stories and backbeats.
The ephemeral nature of live performance is the part I love most - it's a monk's sand painting, carefully constructed, then wiped away in an instant.
Self-expression without craft is for toddlers.
I think books find their way to you when you need them. Whenever I feel like I'm not going to live to read all the books I want to read, I remind myself that the important ones find their way to me.
More and more, I see myself as a folk musician, and someone who values context.
Reading inspirational and motivational quotes daily is like taking my vitamins.
I am so sick of reading about another car bomb, another suicide bomber, another 10, 20, 30, 70, 100 people dead in a day, both Americans and Iraqis.
I choose not to give energy to the emotions of revenge, hatred or the desire to subjugate.
I do not believe in terrorism, violence, destruction, murder, pre-emption, or War.
No, my step-daughter just opened a theatre school for children, I have another daughter who works in the record industry and another who is going back to collage and I have two little ones at home.
I have daughters who are writers and actors but no musicians.
I think it is wrong that we went against The U.N. and that we have alienated our allies and invaded a country that hasn't threatened us, that it is a pre-emptive strike.
I needed to carve out my own place and find out what I was going to do.
Because I was starting out in my 20's. I wanted to do it on my own. I didn't want to use my dad or have people say I was using him.
I was down with Lucinda Williams and Mary Chapin-Carpenter. We did an acoustic tour, just the three of us, three chicks and three guitars.
I found it was really impossible for me to write songs when I couldn't sing.
When my dad died a lot of songs came, and they're still coming.
It's a little dangerous for me to get outside myself and think about how I want people to see me.
I love mixing up my genres.
And I don't think that success is going to destroy me at this point in my life, like I used to think.
My record label is treating me like I'm a new artist, which is exciting after all this time.
For the first time in 23 years I'm enjoying the process of supporting it, of going out and doing shows, and doing the interviews, and doing everything.
If Mr. [V.S.] Naipaul takes no pleasure in the happy delineation of the varieties of human nature, then he must be intolerably stupid.
The religion I have is music. Even the times I have headaches, when I'm singing, I can't feel them. My dad used to say that, too, especially near the end of his life. He would be in pain - a lot of pain - and he said the only time when he didn't feel pain was when he performed and sang.
My dad and I had a real meeting of the minds. We loved to talk about music, politics, and art. He loved children. The thing I missed most about my dad when he died was that this person who really gets who I am at the core was gone.
Like Thornton Wilder said, time is not a river, but rather a landscape that you step in and out of. I've always found that true of creative work, and I've heard so many songwriters and writers in general say the same thing. When you're going into the realms of your self and trying to tap into the mystery of this creative source, linear time kind of falls away.
My dad had more compassion than me. He was nonjudgmental. He didn't care where you stood politically. He just took you as a person on face value. He could love all stripes, and that's why all stripes claim him. He didn't judge.
On the plane, an eight-year-old with an excess of testosterone keeps running across my feet. Finally I grab him by his T-shirt and say, very sweetly, 'Listen, darling, if you don't stop trampling me I'm going to make you sit on my lap while I tell you my entire life story. Including a lot of details about drug rehab and my divorce.' He goes back to his seat.
I have a real worker-bee mentality. Just show up, just do it. Even if you feel like s--t and you think you're terrible and you'll never get better and it will never go anywhere, just show up and do it. And, eventually, something happens.
Celtic music is part of the language in Scotland and Ireland, where every kid and grandparent knows those songs, music by the likes of Woody Guthrie and Hank Snow is getting entrenched here. They are part of our cultural language. It's part of a living treasure. It doesn't just belong to a museum.
I'm a songwriter. My voice just serves what I'm writing about. So to let all that go, I mean, bring the sensibilities of it actually to the song choices, but to just be the interpreter was incredibly liberating, really fun.
When I was 18 years old, I went on the road with my dad after I graduated from high school. And we were riding on the tour bus one day, kind of rolling through the South, and he mentioned a song. We started talking about songs, and he mentioned one, and I said I don't know that one. And he mentioned another. I said I don't know that one either, Dad, and he became very alarmed that I didn't know what he considered my own musical genealogy.
He [Johnny Cash] was so fragile. We invaded Iraq in March, and he died in September. And because his health was so fragile, he couldn't take the controversy of making a public statement against the war. He knew that people were rabid. They attacked me mercilessly after I did the press conference with Musicians United to Win Without War. He knew that he couldn't tolerate that.
The thing that scares me most is the shift from serving the people to exercising power and with it, this attendant narcissism. Sarah Palin is a great example of someone that just stirs the pot for the sake of the attention.
While visiting places in the South with my heart really open, I realized how important people in certain geographical spots were to me, what they symbolize, how I'm still connected to them and how much they are a part of my ancestry, both musical and real.
I couldn't listen to music with lyrics for the first few months after the brain surgery, because they were too complex and disturbing. So I listened to a lot of classical music. I didn't really want to read, either, so I listened to books on tape or watched movies. I also re-taught myself all of my childhood piano pieces. It helped me repair my brain.
Think about all of the families where the father is a doctor and the son is a doctor or generations of coal miners. Why did they go into that line of work? Because that's what they were taught. Or was it in their genes? It's not an either/or question. It's both. I was inclined in that way. I was sensitive to music and poetry, and it was around me growing up.
Work ... is redemption.