The 55-year-old country singer-songwriter has come a long way since his days as an English major at A&M; he spends about half the year playing to enthusiastic fans and has just released his eleventh studio album, READY FOR CONFETTI (Lost Highway).
You live out in Kerrville, yes?
I’ve always liked the wide-open landscape, although this summer is about to wear on me. I think I’m going to have to turn into a beach person or something. This summer is just so brutal, it’s unbelievable. But during any normal year, I just like it out here.
Tell me about your scriptorium.
It’s this shack that I built—it’s not really a shack, it’s a neat little rock building, three hundred to four hundred square feet—and it’s got my books and my guitars and a little bitty jail bed that unfolds off the wall. I go out there and I find that I’m able to write better when I have a lot of solitude. So I sequester myself in this place and nobody bothers me, and I don’t take a cell phone there or anything.
But you didn’t write this new record out there. You wrote it on the road.
I had a long-standing rule that the road is a really poor place to write songs because, for one thing, you’re tired— I get kind of tired—and for another, it’s just hotel room after hotel room after hotel room. I finally decided that maybe that was just mental and I needed to learn how to get over that. So I decided