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Friday, March 7, 2014

"Country Music Artist of the Month ... Dwight Yoakam"

 “Country Music Artist of the Month … Dwight Yoakam”

Dwight Yoakam was born October 23, 1956.  As a singer who emerged onto the country music scene in the mid-1980’s, he has a hillbilly sound quite unique to himself.  Dwight Yoakam’s pining vocals define the purest of country music.  His first major label recording debut was for his album, Guitars, Cadillac’s, Etc.,Etc. It included the title track as well as two other hit country songs.  The album was very commercially successful as well as critically acclaimed, serving as an introduction to the singer’s distinguished career.

Dwight Yoakam’s music, in the tradition of “The Bakersfield Sound,” has established him a large niche of loyal fans.  The song, The Streets of Bakersfield, became a number 1 hit on country radio in 1988.  It was a duet with Buck Owens, who is one of the originators of the sound.  This song, more than any other, marks the sound of Dwight Yoakam.

Dwight Yoakam’s biggest album, This Time, was released in 1993.  It sold more than 3 million copies and contained the single, Ain’t that lonely yet, which received the Grammy that year for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.  The song’s lasting eminence as brought it popularity to this day.  Other songs on the album, such as A Thousand Miles fromNowhere and Fast as You were also successful on country music radio.  However, the song, Ain’t That Lonely Yet’s critical praise is matched by few other contemporary country songs by any artist.

As well as being a singer, Dwight Yoakam has achieved success as an actor.  Most noticeably were his roles in the movies Sling Blade, and in Bandidas, in which he starred with Selma Hayek and Penelope Cruz.  In addition to these two films in which Dwight Yoakam starred, he also appeared or starred in a total of 33 film and television roles. 

Dwight Yoakam discography contains 24 albums.  From these albums, I have chosen 5 songs that are among my personal favorites and are most definitive of the artist.  Along with the testimonial to each song, the music video is also included.  I hope that you enjoy these five songs and I hope you enjoy the rest of the collection from this artist.

·        LittleSister Video Link
This cover of Elvis Presley’s hit song has a quite different sound than the rockabilly original.  The original version’s epoch longing remains, however, the distinctive style of Dwight Yoakam has changed its connotation.  Dwight Yoakam interprets the song as a lament of an adult rather than an inconsequential crush of a child; bringing a mourning feel to the song.

·        Fast asYou Video Link
This track off his 1993 Album, This Time, supplemented the hit song, Ain’t that lonely yet, as if it were scripted.  The song, with an upbeat, reverberating sound, discusses a lost love in a distinctive and novel way.  This song tends to grow more poignant as the emotion that is conveyed becomes fully understood.

Barroom antics fit nicely with this song attributing the protagonist’s drunkenness on a girlfriend who, “Taught him brand newways to be blue”  The song tells the story of a man attempting to get over the recent breakup by hitting the bars.

·        HonkeytonkMan Video Link
This song has the distinction of being the first country song to be played on MTV.  The song, once again, has a traditional, bluegrass sound which matches the singers “Bakersfield Sound” roots.

This song, arguably one of the best heart-broken country songs in all of country music, imbues the feelings of loneliness upon its listeners.  Instead of preaching a longing to return to a failed relationship, it discusses the man’s belief that what has transpired has reached an end, although a bitter end.  The lyrical interpretations of Dwight Yoakam, as well as the masterful orchestration, etch this song as a song for generations.

I hope you enjoyed this “Country Music Artist of the Month … Dwight Yoakam” post.  Keep an eye open for other country music features.

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