Indy: In the liner notes for your latest CD, Home Before Dark, you say the process of doing this album included some of the highest points of your life. What was so special?
ND: You always have that lingering doubt when you take on a project, because I've been doing this since I was 16 years old, and you just never do know whether something is going to come out. You can make all the plans and you make the commitments and you sit down with your guitar and you hope that something worthwhile starts to take shape. So that was a real high, because I liked the songs that were coming and it was very encouraging and gave me a lot of hope.
Indy: Home Before Dark and 2005's 12 Songs were both produced by Rick Rubin, one of the biggest names in the rock business. What do you like about Rubin's approach to making albums?
ND: Really the best thing that he does and the wisest thing he does is to stay out of the way as much as possible. He leaves it to the musicians and the engineers and the artists, and, in this case, the artist/songwriter, and he will drop in comments along the way, some spoken to the group as a whole out in the studio, and some directed quietly to each individual person, if he has something to say. I think his strongest attribute is knowing when not to say anything and let the music take its own course and develop and grow of its own natural power.
Indy: Have the past two CDs been an attempt to branch out and reach a younger demographic, maybe even reinvent yourself a bit?
ND: No, I like the way I was invented originally. I've kind of gotten used to it. This is just another step, that's all.
At Denver's Pepsi Center, Dec. 17.