First, tell me a bit about Nashville and how that great musical city has informed your music.
Well, I grew up listening to so much music that was made here in the '60s and '70s: Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty and earlier with Roy Acuff. That music was the most influential music that I grew up with before I grew up and discovered jazz. It's great living here because everyone is working hard; there are very diligent songwriters and musicians. There's a great sense of camaraderie; I know it's competitive, but everyone in Nashville is smart about networking and realizing that helping others helps themselves. It's a lot different from living in Athens, Ga. In Athens, it's lively, but everyone is also doing other things, like going to school and working. Not too many people are paying their mortgages or supporting their families with music.
You're working on a new album. What can you tell me about it?
I'm working with producer Joshua Grange, the same producer for my two previous albums, "Lying in the Sun" and "The Avenues." We're working really hard on it right now. I was up until 3 a.m. last night working on it. But good things are happening. We have eight songs done, and hopefully I can get the rest of them done in the next week or two because touring starts and I won't be home for the rest of the year, going through January even.
You've been featured quite heavily on "True Detective." First, how did you get involved with the show?
I was lucky that my manager had a relationship with T Bone [Burnett] for "Raising Sand," the effort by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. My manager mentioned that T Bone may want to work with me, and he mailed some CDs to him, you know, the old-fashioned way. He was interested in using my EP title track from "Lying in the Sun," and he asked me if I'd like to collaborate and do some writing with him. He flew me to L.A., and we wrote very quickly. We recorded several songs in just a couple days and played them for show writer Nic Pizzolatto. He liked it and suggested I should be the girl in the show singing the songs.
What has working with the legendary producer T Bone Burnett been like?
It was a little nerve-racking at first. I thought, "I've got to get my [expletive] together. It's now or never!" But T Bone is easygoing, reassuring and not afraid to have a martini at lunchtime, which makes everything easier. I think we work very well together because I'm an intuitive artist, and he works with very intuitive artists — people who are capable of letting things happen and aren't trying to control too much. That approach was pretty prominent in our collaboration.
Have you reached new audiences by being featured in the show and on the soundtrack?
Oh my god, absolutely! There are people from Turkey and Iran and all over the world reaching out to me in different languages, sending me messages in languages I can't read. What an opportunity it's been. I don't know if I've realized the reach, and I don't know if ever will.
What do you hope your audience gets out of your music?
The things I look for in music. I want to be completely consumed by it; when I fall in love with a new record, all I want to do is listen to that. I want to hear it when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm having fun or when I'm waking up. That's how I want my records to affect people.