My deep love of music came from discovering Bob Dylan when I was young. I had loved music before, but his passion and authenticity drove me toward songwriting as well. I've always held his whole catalog dear, amongst many other artists. (Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Nick Lowe, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen etc... Even Kanye West!)
As a performer, I also volunteer regularly with Sharing Notes, an organization in Chicago that connects professional musicians with hospital patients and wards. Music is a very special tool for healing, connecting, and creating good feelings. Let's do that here, too!
My street performances have often been somewhat formal, with a cafe or coffee house hiring me to perform on the patio or the like. In these types of settings, I usually stick to cover songs. Strangers don't know you, and as such, they usually prefer to hear songs they may be familiar with rather than your own. It's all about knowing your audience!
In any case, I perform quite a bit of Bob Dylan in these scenarios. I can't begin to explain how many times I've had someone walk up to me, typically an older person, and say to me, "Well done. I could actually understand the lyrics!" We all love you dearly, Bob, but you have quite a rough set of pipes! I'm glad I can actually bring that lyricism to people who don't want to listen to the original tracks.
I awkwardly tripped all over myself and nearly mowed down Tommy Emmanuel after a show when I got to meet him. That probably could have gone better. But, he was the friendliest guy - a superb guitarist and arguably one of the finest alive right now.
I still own my favorite instrument - a Martin 000 folk guitar. Does it have a name? Of course! Quixote. Several years ago I was reading 'Don Quixote' and ended up writing a few tracks for an album I was working on based on the book. Thus, the guitar used on that record was dubbed Quixote and we're still going strong. (Though he's taken quite a bit of beatings on the road since then.)