CJW: It’s horrible. So back to being serious for at least one question. So long as we’re going with the favorites and stuff, we were talking musical people that we like. We know Patty Griffin – who else are you a fan of?
TLC: John Cougar Mellencamp – when he had all three names. Sheryl Crow. Derek Webb probably played a big role in making me write long verses. It’s unintentional – some people hate it, some people love it. I write long verses because of Derek Webb I think.
CJW: I never really thought about that.
TLC: He has really long A parts. There was a day when I would’ve said Jennifer Knapp. I think she probably has had influence on me – I’m not so much aware of it anymore. Counting Crows. Love the Counting Crows. And David Wilcox, as well.
CJW: And who’s that guy we were listening to in the car?
TLC: Gabe – G-A-B-E Dixon D-I-X-O-N.
CJW: He sounded pretty good.
TLC: Yeah, he’s phenomenal.
CJW: I’ll have to check him out. Now see, I ordinarily, in a musician interview, would ask who is in your CD player right now, but we’ve already covered that.
TLC: We’ve covered that.
CJW: Patty was in when we hopped in, and now Gabe.
TLC: Yep, that’s right.
CJW: Oh, and we do love Patty. More music. So what led you to the decision to pursue music professionally?
TLC: It was a happy accident, I think. I’d been writing songs. A friend of mine was a youth pastor and asked me to come in and play some of my songs that I’d written for his youth group. He said, “Why don’t you come in and do 45 minutes for my youth group.” I was like, “Like a concert?” “Yeah, sure.” I was going to be a flight attendant when I graduated from college a month later, and I got up there and played, and that was when I knew that was what I was supposed to do at that time in my life. So I sort of dropped everything, called American Airlines, called off the deal and started calling places and saying, “Can I come play there? No, I don’t have a CD. I don’t really know what a press kit is, but I’ll come play for free.” And I’d go play, and I was terrible. I’d never changed my guitar strings, didn’t know how to tune my guitar, didn’t really even know what a sound check was. Could not tell when my guitar was out of tune – nothing. If I had known how stupid I was, I would’ve been so intimidated that I never would’ve done it, so I think God used my lack of knowledge – of how little knowledge I had – unaware of my ignorance – to get me going. And then I learned along the way. And I still have (singing) a lot to learn. Just started to grow into it after about a year and a half.
CJW: What year was that?
TLC: April 1, 2000, was my first concert.
CJW: That’s right, you told me it was four years…
TLC: Four year anniversary yesterday.
CJW: Big time. That’s exciting. Where’d you go to college?
TLC: I went to a subsidiary of Walter State in east Tennessee. I studied culinary arts in their culinary arts division. Which is a really long name of a school – it’s The Great Smokey Mountain School of Culinary Arts. I think they’ve since changed that.
(Donnie Boutwell enters)
CJW: We can relocate.
DB: I need a Tara Leigh Cobble, though.
TLC: You need me?
DB: When do I get a Tara Leigh Cobble?
TLC: Soon. Does Jett not need to track those guitar parts at the speed?
DB: That’s a whole ‘nother thing, whole ‘nother thing. Here’s what I want to do.
TLC: Tell me.
DB: Take advantage of Garrett’s time.
TLC: Yes. “I Wonder”.
DB: I do wonder. So what that means I’d like to do is get sort of a direction of that song? It would be fantastic if you would get your guitar, if we put a guitar in Jett’s hands, get some hand drums out and Joseph with his upright and just sit in the living room and play. Get a feel for the song, you know? See about that. How do you feel about that?
TLC: That’s a good idea.
DB: Yes. But you need another 16 hours to do your interview.
TLC: No. Can I ask you? Can we do – I don’t know what your day is like.
CJW: I’m open.
TLC: Can we –
DB: What are you doing? Where are you from, what are you doing?
CJW: I’m from –
DB: Let’s interview you.
CJW: (laughs) Well, I currently live in Northport, Ala., which is just outside of Tuscaloosa.
DB: Spectacular. I was born in Mobile.
CJW: Oh! I was born in Birmingham.
DB: Awesome. Joseph is from Birmingham.
CJW: Oh! Is he the person I parked in front of, then? Because I saw the tag from Birmingham. I thought, “Oh, this is a good place to park!”
DB: What are you doing in Alabama?
CJW: I am a graduate student at the University, and I’m studying journalism, and I’m looking forward to graduating.
DB: Yes. (laughing) Get a job! Cool! That’s a good feeling, getting done with school. I hated college, all six years of it.
CJW: Well I hated it the first time around, but then I decided to go to grad school.
TLC: What if we were to pause the interview for a while, do the living room thing, then when we get a feel for what we’re doing…
DB: Jett could go in and track his vocal and then you could go do whatever…
TLC: And then while you’re tracking Garrett, I can finish up the interview.
DB: Yeah. If I can at least do a scratch down then I can work for a couple hours without you.
TLC: Do you have a scratch for “I Wonder” already? So let’s go. Let’s go to the living room then. Does that work for you?
CJW: Yes, ma’am.