WFUV Pop Quiz: Erin McKeown

by Laura Fedele
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Erin McKeown spared some time to take the WFUV Pop Quiz with Darren DeVivo. Here she talks about her recently developed love for Bob Dylan, her dependence on striped tube socks and her former love affair with Chef Boyardee.

Aside from gear, your instruments or your band, you don't go on the road without...
My iPhone. Does that count as gear? What's something to me that's indispensable? Tube socks.
The ones with stripes on the side?
That's right.
What song do you wish you had written and why?
The first thing that comes to head is "Brother Can You Spare a Dime." I don't know why. It's just something timely and timeless. Ok, here's a real answer: "Louisiana 1927" by Randy Newman. One of my favorite songs. Appropriate in the 70s, way appropriate now, heartbreaking and finger-pointing at the same time.
With Randy Newman, do you look at him as a model who you want to emulate?
Yeah, in terms of his longevity and snarkiness.
Who do you wish had recorded one of your songs (dead or alive)?
Faith Hill.
Is there a particular song you think she should have covered?
I think she should have covered my song "Slung Low."
That'd be nice.
I just want a new house.
What song would you sing in the shower but never in public?
Dave Matthews' "Crash Into Me."
What's the first album you bought?
Cyndi Lauper's True Colors, on cassette. From the Sam Goody in the mall.
If someone finds your iPod and hits shuffle, which song do you hope doesn't come up?
This is the guilty pleasure moment. "Islands in the Stream," Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
What's your favorite Dylan song?
I hated Bob Dylan for years, I just couldn't get into it. But then something switched in me and I now recognize him as the brilliant man he is. Anything from "Love and Theft." That's what made me like him, and now I can go back and listen all sorts of his older stuff.
What job would you have if you weren't a musician?
I'd work in an art school, which was my job in high school. It's the job I missed the most. I framed pictures and sold paints. There was a gallery in the art store. I just sat behind the counter and let the artistic community come in and out. It was one of those jobs where it's as much social as work.
Do you have any hidden talents?
No, probably not. I'm a really good dancer, so you'll just have to imagine.
Do you cook?
I do cook, and like with Bob Dylan, it's something that's recently changed for me. I only ate things out of cans for years and years. I was doing Chef Boyardee for a long time, then I was convinced to switch to Annie's, you know, more organic soy meatballs. But now I actually do cook and love it. I don't know why I didn't do it for longer. My favorite meal is lemon dill haddock with couscous and steamed kale with garlic with a little cayenne on the top.
And finally, what is the biggest misconception that your fans or the media have about you?
Well, everyone thinks that I'm 5 feet tall. But actually I'm 6'4".
What wacky thing would you do if you had the time, guts, resources or whatever?
I'm just thinking practical. How wacky would it be to have health insurance and be able to go to the eye doctor? That's what I'd do.

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