It’s hard to say exactly what makes you write and sing the things that you do. I spend a lot of time outdoors. My mind opens to all sorts of ideas while I hike through the woods. Also long drives, especially at dawn, stir up thoughts. Songs grow out of experiences that are deeply personal, yet remain distant enough to sing at strangers in a bar on any given night. My feelings are poured into them, but there’s some wall up around each of us… and maybe that’s what helps us understand each other. That what music does, I think. It helps us through our days and grows our empathy for the human experience.
I wrote the songs for The Last Secret over a few years, while I was living in Alaska and in Maine. The harsh weather I’ve endured, the long dark days in the north country, and many miles driven on the American highway system come across in my music as much as my love stories. It’s those rural places, with their limited access to roads or cities, that influence the songs more than any love affair, really. We fall in and out of love with more than just people. Places carve spaces into our hearts as deep as any romance. These songs reflect both.
My musical influences began with Doc Watson when I was a young girl. Doc’s voice and those mountain ballads meant a great deal to me as a child. I used to listen to them on my SONY Walkman, singing along in the back seat of the car. In college I came back to that roots music and found myself picking up the banjo and then guitar. Those songs filled a place in me that I didn’t realize was empty. They still inform my writing, even if I venture to other genres or topics, and they connect me back to where I grew up and my family.