Back in '02 when you played that show, CMT Crossroads, with Elvis Costello, you half-jokingly said at one point, “I do write country songs; I just don’t write country songs that get played on country radio.” Is that something you still deal with or does it even matter anymore?
It doesn’t matter anymore. I lived in Nashville for nine years. I didn’t go there to try to be a country… to try to make that happen or anything. This was after I’d lived in L.A. for six years. I had some friends who moved to Nashville and they said, “Oh, it’s cool. There’s this whole songwriting community.” John Prine was living there, and Emmylou Harris and Steve Forbert and Steve Earle. I thought, I’ll go check it out.
Now Steve Earle is living in New York.
I know, yeah. He finally couldn’t stand it anymore either. The industry, they were kind of rude to me a little bit because I had won the GRAMMY® for “Passionate Kisses,” but I didn’t want to play the game, which consisted of co-writing with all these people. I wasn’t into doing that. I didn’t need to co-write. I didn’t want to co-write. I tried it a couple of times and it just never worked for me. And they wanted me to go to all of these… They had this radio-seminar thing that they do at the Opryland Hotel. They have all these radio stations set up in the different rooms and the different suites. You go in and…
You’ve got to schmooze with them?
Yeah, schmooze with them and… They do, like, recorded interviews, which they play later on. It’s just to showcase different artists and stuff. They dragged me to one of those and, my God. I was doing this one radio interview for this station and the DJ said, “So, what’s your favorite Christmas memory?” Because they were going to play it during Christmas upcoming. I said, “Well, I don’t really have one.” And she said, “Well, just make something up.”
And they sit you in this little booth thing with a microphone. It’s called Fan Fair. I was sitting next to all the artists, and the fans can go up and talk to them, to you or whoever. And, of course, nobody knew who I was. So there’s nobody there. [Laughs] So, I didn’t want to get into all that; I hated it. And then nobody would cut my songs except people like Emmylou Harris and Patty Loveless.