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t began as an experiment.
Music had always been the focus of my short, 17yearold, guitarplaying life in Austin, Texas. I was obsessed with The Beatles, Hendrix, Sinatra, and Sam Cooke. The Blues were my foundation. I hung with a crowd of young musicians who shared my love of the classics. We listened to vinyl. We played in bands.
My safe, little vintagerock world was turned on its head when underground hiphop came knocking at my door. Rappers wanted me to sing hooks on their songs. I never in a million years thought what I did made sense in hiphop. Eminem and Outkast had blown my mind as a kid, but it was still an alien world to me.
As uncomfortable as it was, I jumped in. At first, my bluesy singing made the hooks come across as a sort of “blue-eyed soul” thing. I didn’t identify with that. The hooks I loved most had been sampled from old records. They contrasted the beat in a cool way. They felt distorted and fuzzy and their juxtaposition with modern music had an accidental magic.
One Cannery Row, Nashville, TN 37203