I think learning to sing in the arena of country music was behind [my vocal restraint]. It was Gram Parsons who got me into country music, and harmonizing with him, which required even more restraint. Basically, you’re just learning to trust the melody and the lyric. We’re all just servants to the music. It’s not about putting the spotlight on yourself, it’s about putting the spotlight on the song. That’s the only guide.
And also, to be brutally honest, I don’t have the kind of chops where I can do those kinds of things that I hear other singers do. Fortunately, I don’t usually do the kinds of songs that require that. I don’t know if any song requires it. Sometimes I think the only person who should ever be allowed to do it is Aretha Franklin (laughs). After that, it’s like, why should anyone else even attempt it? She’s so brilliant. It’s like going to another stratosphere with her, but somehow you never feel that she’s showing off.