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“We had this oldies station, 100.3 WBIG. I loved listening to Motown music, and Smokey Robinson in particular. I remember the moment I heard ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’ for the first time. It was in our living room; the speakers were on the floor and I lay down next to the speakers and listened to it. I just loved the emotion that it conjured. It was so engrossing, so catchy, yet there was this melancholy to it that I really loved, and I'm still drawn to that juxtaposition.”

“When I was 12 or 13, Lilith Fair started, and that was the first time I had seen women front bands. It was from there that I became more interested in The Pretenders—Chrissie Hynde was a hero. I really loved how rough-and-tumble she was. Lucinda Williams was a really big influence. I always loved her vocal delivery and her lyric writing. She was probably the driving force of my pursuing songwriting.”

“I think that my greatest inspiration comes from reading my favorite authors. When I was young I wanted to be a short-story writer. I love and appreciate music, but what I really love about it is the storytelling aspect. Grace Paley is one of my favorite authors. Denis Johnson was a really big influence on this last record...George Saunders is incredible; I wish he was my dad. I love John Steinbeck, Lorrie Moore, and Deborah Eisenberg.”

“I went to school in Southeastern Virginia, which is a lot more ‘Virginian’ than where I'm from. So in college I was listening to a lot of old-time music and taking all these Appalachian music courses. And when I started taking these courses and hanging out, I started playing music with actual people, other people. All of these really amazing guitar players challenged me to try to be as good as I could be.”

“From when I was very young to present-day, I've always loved hip hop music. That comes from my older brother, who was listening to Tone Lōc and Fat Boys, so I've always had a very special place in my heart for ’80s and ’90s hip hop.”

“I'm a really big fan of the songwriter Laura Veirs. I just decided to send a blind, cold email to her website, saying ‘Can I open for you sometime? Anytime? Please!’ After a while, her manager emailed me and said, ‘We don't have any opening slots available now, but I’m putting together this compilation. Would you like to be on it?’ So I just said, ‘Sure, yeah. I'll give you a song.’ So I gave him this song, and Kill Rock Stars put this tour together, and that was the beginning.”

“On tour, because you're so bombarded by music, be it your own or other people's, I prefer to listen to NPR and different podcasts. I love Fresh Air. I love Terry Gross. I don't like it when people are rude to her; it makes me very uncomfortable and I take it personally. Old standbys are of course Radiolab and This American Life. There's also this more spiritually focused podcast called On Being with Krista Tippett. I think her voice is incredibly soothing, and also the subject matter is really fascinating.”

“One of the first places I lived when I moved to San Francisco was at the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Of course I heard stories of ‘This is where Janis lived, and this is where The Dead were, and this is where Jefferson Airplane was....’ I love The Fillmore, so when we finally got to play there it was a really emotionally significant moment. It was something that I'd always wanted to do since I was young.”