When you needed new guitar strings or something, where did you shop? Atlanta should be proud of its malls. Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza together are probably the best mall in the country. A touring musician is a mall aficionado. As a touring musician, I rate malls. There are very hard-and-fast rules. If a mall has a Payless, it can be no greater than a four. If it has a giant gumball machine, no better than a six. If a mall has an Apple store, you have a great shot at having a great mall. Lenox is fascinating because it's laid out like its own microcosmic city. Then you have Phipps, which is even more highfalutin. You need a credit check just to get into it. It's carpeted! [It might be] the only mall in America with a carpeted staircase in the center, as if to say, "We're available for weddings."

What was your favorite spot to turn up for an impromptu jam session? For me, it was Eddie's Attic. But I approached Eddie's differently. I didn't approach it as an acoustic­-folk place, but as a pop place with a great room where people were focusing on good playing. I didn't play many places in Atlanta, so Eddie's was my spot. That's more my style anyway: Work one place until the end.

You're on a first date: What restaurant would you choose? I think I went on a couple of dates in Atlanta. There is Harry and Sons, which has great Asian food and sushi. Really laid-back. And then there's Café Intermezzo. It's just ­Candyland. They have 30 or 40 different kinds of cakes at any given time. And they have a great outdoor patio. Love it. There's also a Thai place called Surin, right next to Dark Horse Tavern & Grill in Virginia Highlands. That's a killer restaurant. Best Thai food
in Atlanta.

Well, since you were a struggling musician at the time, did you have a favorite spot to eat on the cheap? Fellini's Pizza! Fellini's is more my style. But there is more than one Fellini's. I like the one on Peachtree Road. It's open late - that's great for a musician - and it's cheap.

Where did you head when you wanted down-home Southern food? The Flying Biscuit. They have these amazing giant biscuits and bacon.

How did you feel about the Waffle House phenomenon? Love it! Martin Luther King had a dream, and I think Waffle House was in it. It's a supernova of cultures - the most diverse room in all of Atlanta at any given moment is a Waffle House. It's where, at the end of the night, different cultures, viewpoints, and appetites all come together to enjoy the same ­lowest-common­-­denominator meal. The first night I ever came to Atlanta, I was taken to a Waffle House. As long as you are in the Southeast - this is great for touring - you can walk into a Waffle House and feel right at home. They are all the same! So if I'm traveling to Columbus, Georgia, or Chattanooga, I can walk into a Waffle House and feel like at least I'm in the Southeast. I propose that as a bumper sticker: "At least I'm in the ­Southeast."

Where do you splurge when you swing through Atlanta nowadays? Bluepointe. Good place to eat. I went with Elton John one time and had a blast. It's like a sushi hybrid. It's great.

Tell me an Atlanta secret. If somebody cuts you off in Atlanta, they didn't mean to. They weren't looking. If somebody cuts you off in New York, they have somewhere to get before you.