“Bobbie Gentry had a lot of hit records, but she quit music sometime in the ‘70s. I went to England and was writing with a music journalist who knows every bit of trivia, so he filled me in on her.
“Hearing all about her made me want to go out and check out her music. She had such interesting songs, and of course, her voice was so beautiful. Everybody knows Ode To Billie Joe, but there is also the song Fancy, which Reba McEntire covered. When I was making my first record, I listened to a lot of Bobbie Gentry. She was a little bit glammy, but she was also very chill and down to earth.
“I just love her persona. Her words are so strong and affecting, filled with imagery. She’s probably as good a lyricist as Paul Simon. She really knew how to write a song as if it were a novel. The production on her material follows her lyrics – the music tells the story as well as the words.”