BY David Michael Conner
May 13 2009 12:00 AM ET
So this raises the question, what if you weren't able to get married? Would your life be any different?Mmm ... I wasn't sure how marriage would ever change it. We weren't in a hurry. We'd been together for so long and were committed like we were married, and we never really felt a big pressure about it. But ... I think it did change things ... for me. I moved around my whole life, I've been unsettled my whole life, and for some reason being married made me feel really settled. I was surprised by that because I really didn't think it would change anything.
How do you feel about gay marriage?I can't believe it's an issue. I think that if you're a person of faith and you want marriage to be between a man and a woman, that's great, it's your prerogative. I don't see how gay marriage threatens that, personally. I'm honestly just surprised it's an issue at all.
A lot of people still associate you with Alaska. What do you think about that other famous Alaskan, Sarah Palin? Ah ... um, well, Alaska is full of women. She and I don't agree politically, necessarily. But Alaska is a place that, you know, I wasn't raised thinking that I was that different as a woman, but I was raised on a homestead and for the women up there, it's kind of a can-do attitude. Women up there are really independent, strong-minded, and she's probably a reflection of that, even though we're very different-minded politically. There's a lot of really strong-willed, independent-minded women up there. You know, you just get things done. I didn't know that that was unusual until I came to the [lower 48] states. And then I felt really lucky.
And you ended up gravitating to Texas. How did that happen?I met Ty. It's gorgeous; it's a great place to write. I love the solitude.
One of the songs on your new album is Swedish. Do you speak Swedish?I learned a fair amount when I was about 18. I knew about six or seven words when I started learning it, and so of course I wrote a song using those six or seven words. It probably sounds like a fifth-grader wrote it [ laughs ]. I did learn more after I wrote the song, though.
Do you keep everything you write?I am pretty prolific and I've written hundreds and hundreds of songs but I'm not very good at keeping track of them. I lose them. And so I got into the habit of going online and saying, "Hey, does anyone have this song? I sang it once in Toronto, I think ... " and this one guy kept coming back with bootlegs. He's kind of an archivist doing it for himself. I ended up hiring him [ laughs ] to help me keep track of my hundreds of songs. It's been great. When I want to go back and get x song, he sends them to me.