CP: There's a song on there about the blues legend Jessie Mae Hemphill, how did you get turned on to her?
RWH: I got turned on to Jessie Mae along time ago, I found her and just loved that dead-thumb style of playing. I started off playing folk music in high school. I went to high school in Dallas with Michael Murphy and B.W. Stevenson and Larry Groce, who's now host of Mountain Stage. So I got involved in folk music through Dylan, of course, and through Dylan you discover Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and Jimmie Rodgers, and then the Cambridge folk guys—Paul Siebel and Eric Anderson and Tim Hardin and that whole folk scene. That's where I started off so I have that foundation. And then in my 40s, somewhere in there, I wanted to learn to fingerpick and play guitar like Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker, because I'd seen those cats when I was younger but I never could play like that, I never could quite figure it out. So when I was 41, I came out of this honky-tonk fog I'd been in and said, OK by God, I'm gonna try to do this and I got real into guitar and trying to learn fingerpicking like Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin' and Jessie Mae, what I call that "dead thumb" technique where you keep that old E-string going. Right now it's a really good place where I feel like I've got that foundation in folk music and I can take those lyrics and throw them on top of a deep groove. Like I said, I'm not writing songs for a publishing company or trying to write hits, I just write about what I admire and talk about guitars and amps and I'm very grateful. I'm not a full-tilt pure blues guy or a full-tilt rock guy, and I've never been a country guy or a real folk purist. But I've been influenced by all of that music. I'm an old cat, so I feel fortunate to have seen Lightnin' and Mance and Freddie King, but also saw Ernest Tubb and Gary Stewart and Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. And the rock guys, The 13th Floor Elevators and ZZ Top; before they were ZZ Top, they were the Moving Sidewalks. So I've seen all of that and I love it all.