Sometimes I'm more true when I'm up onstage than I'm able to be in my regular life. It's not as exciting to be at home, but I've got to learn how to make that work, and then I will be an ordinary woman.
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Distribution has really changed. You can make a record with a laptop in the morning and have it up on YouTube in the afternoon and be a star overnight. The talent on YouTube is incredible, and it can spread like wildfire. The downside is that it's very hard to convince the younger generation that they should pay for music.
Especially girls, but any kids exposed to music programs and arts programs do much better on their tests. They have a better chance of going to college. They can focus better. You know, we're not just automatons learning how to work machines and do engineering and math and science. All of that's great, but you've got to build a whole person.
I'm happy to say that at 62, I think I've reached that point where stuff doesn't bother me as much, and my gratitude level has gone way up, especially having gone through the loss that I've had, and losing so many of the great artists that I was close to. They taught me how to see it with a grain of salt and a lot of humor and perspective.
I'm sure I would have been considered a more significant artist if I was a singer-songwriter. It's just not the way I roll. I love being a curator and a musicologist. People write me letters and thank me for turning them on to Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace, and that's partly my job this time around.
Nobody taught me to play bottleneck. I just saw it and taught myself. I got an old bottle and steamed the label off, put it on the wrong finger, I basically did everything wrong until I met some of the Blues legends early in my career who taught me another way. I didn't have anyone to tell me women didn't play bottleneck.
Quakers are known for wanting to give back. Ban the bomb and the civil rights movement and the native American struggle for justice - those things were very, very front-burner in my childhood, as were the ideas of working for peace and if you have more than you need, then you share it with people who don't.
The anti-nuke movement has important and far-reaching implications for grassroots organizing. It can unite kids and musicians, everybody, whether they're leftist or rightist, or radical, or Republican, because energy is energy. But in fact, it is a real political struggle - it shows people that it's big business against the people.