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Just Back From Montana: Tori Amos

Occupation: Singer-songwriter

Home Base: Cornwall, England

On the Road: Amos recently crisscrossed America for three months, visiting all 50 states (including her home state of North Carolina); her favorite stop was Montana. "She's a big-bottomed gal," Amos says of Big Sky country. "She's a brick house-you're protected when you're there." (Sometimes too protected: "Once I got locked into my hotel room," Amos says with a laugh. "I had to rip the towel rack off the wall and bang on the door for thirty-Þve minutes to get out.")

Map of the World: The cowboys, college kids, and even a belly dancer Amos met on her road trip found their way into her eighth album, Scarlet's Walk (Epic), in which the countryside has as much personality as the larger-than-life characters she encounters. "You may only go to a town once in your life, but something there takes a piece of you, and you take a piece of it. You get a relationship with a place; it's personal, between you and her."

Freewheeling: Give Amos a set of wheels and a stretch of open highway, and she's euphoric (one song follows Scarlet, the album's narrator, up the California coast; it's one of Amos's favorite drives). "I'm such a road dog. It's freedom. And being a singer is a good excuse for always being out on it." -Heidi Sherman Mitchell

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