Dwight Yoakam

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Guitars Cadillacs Etc Etc (1986), 6.5/10
Hillbilly Deluxe (1987), 6.5/10
Buenos Noches from a Lonely Room (1988), 6.5/10
If There Was a Way (1990), 7/10
This Time (1993), 6.5/10
Gone (1995), 6.5/10
A Long Way Home (1998), 5/10
Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000), 5/10
South of Heaven West of Hell (2001), 5/10
Population Me (2003), 6/10
Blame The Vain (2005), 5/10
3 Pears (2012), 5/10
Second Hand Heart (2015), 5/10
Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars (2016), 4/10

A country artist who was more appreciated by the punk audience than by Nashville, Ohio-raised but Los Angeles-based signer Dwight Yoakam is a disciple of the honky-tonk school of such irregulars as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard but came to symbolize the neo-traditionalist school of country music. Yoakam's simple, unadorned, plain revisitation of the tradition on the EP A Town South of Bakersfield (Oak, 1984) and the album Guitars Cadillacs Etc Etc (Reprise, 1986), that contains Johnny Horton's Honky Tonk Man and especially Guitars Cadillacs, was as exciting as someone singing Bob Dylan's acoustic songs 30 years later, but somehow that style and that "twang" represented the mood of the times as effectively as punk-rock was doing. The album codified his three-pronged artistic persona: the travelling hobo, the desolate loser and the stubborn optimist.

Hillbilly Deluxe (Reprise, 1987) turned him into a star, thanks to Little Sister, Little Ways (perhaps the standout), Please Please Baby, and Always Late with Your Kisses.

A different mood emerged from Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room (Reprise, 1988), a darker set that emphasizes the psychological nuances of his delivery (songs such as Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room and I Got You) and gave him two country hits: Homer Joy' Streets of Bakersfield, a duet with Buck Owens, and especially I Sang Dixie, one of his all-time best.

Yoakam's music got even more personal on If There Was a Way (Reprise, 1990), that also pays attention to rhythm with the rockabilly Takes A Lot To Rock You Baby, the bluegrass Since I Started Drinkin' Again the southern boogie Dangerous One, and the country-rock of It Only Hurts When I Cry.

This Time (Reprise, 1993) presented an eclectic artist, whose voice is finally surrounded by adequate arrangements and can leverage the unassuming melodies of Ain't That Lonely Yet, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere (one of his best Roy Orbison impersonations), and Fast As You. The rock side of his art is well represented by Wild Ride, that betrays his secret passion for the Rolling Stones.

Gone (Reprise, 1995) develops those ideas with fewer concessions to the radio-friendly ideology, and remains one of his best albums: Sorry You Asked (Mexican trumpets), Baby Why Not (cajun accordion), Heart Of Stone (string orchestra), Never Hold You (Rolling Stones beat).

Under the Covers (Reprise, 1997) is a collection of cover songs.

A Long Way Home (Reprise, 1998) is an album in the vein of the smooth pop ballad.

La Croix d'Amour (Wea, 1999) collects rarities and more covers. Last Chance for a Thousand Years (1999) is a career anthology that includes a cover of the Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Dwightyoakamacoustic.net (2000) collects acoustic versions of his classics.

Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000) picks up from Gone's cosmopolitan pop-oriented production (What Do You Know About Love, For Love's Sake) with only bland nods at rockabilly (A Place To Cry).

South of Heaven West of Hell (Warner, 2001) is the soundtrack to Yoakam's first film, and overall one of his best, running the gamut from the gospel-ish Who At The Door Is Standing to the rave up The Darkest Hour.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Antonio Buono)

Un artista country più apprezzato dal pubblico punk che da Nashville, nato e cresciuto in Ohio poi trasferitosi a Los Angeles, il cantante Dwight Yoakam è un discepolo della scuola dell’honky-tonk di Buck Owens e Merle Haggard, ma è riuscito a rappresentare un simbolo della scuola noe-tradizionalista della musica country.

La semplice, disadorna, schietta rivisitazione della tradizione sull’EP A Town South of Bakersfield (Oak, 1984) e sull’album Guitars Cadillacs Etc Etc (Reprise, 1986), che include la Honky Tonk Man di Johnny Horton e Guitars Cadillacs, era eccitante quanto uno che cantava le canzoni acustiche di Bob Dylan trent’anni dopo, sebbene quello stile e quel "twang" riflettessero l’umore dei tempi quanto il punk-rock.

Hillbilly Deluxe lo rese una star, grazie a Little Sister, Little Ways, Please Please Baby, e Always Late with Your Kisses.

Una vena diversa emerse da Buenos Noches from a Lonely Room (Reprise, 1988), una collezione più cupa che enfatizza le sfumature psicologiche delle sue interpretazioni (Streets of Bakersfield di Homer Joy, I Sang Dixie, I Got You). La musica di Yoakam divenne ancora più personale su If There Was a Way (Reprise, 1990) che fa attenzione anche al ritmo col rockabilly Takes A Lot To Rock You Baby e al boogie sudista Dangerous One. This Time (Reprise, 1993) presentava un artista eclettico, la cui voce era finalmente circondata da arrangiamenti adeguati e in grado di elevare le melodie senza pretese di Ain't That Lonely Yet, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere, e di Fast As You. Il lato rock della sua arte è meglio rappresentata da Wild Ride, che tradisce la sua passione segreta per i Rolling Stones. Gone (Reprise, 1995) sviluppa quelle idee con meno concessioni all’ideologia radio-friendly, e rimane uno dei suoi album migliori: Sorry You Asked (trombe messicane), Baby Why Not (fisarmonica cajun), Heart Of Stone (orchestra d’archi), Never Hold You (battito à la Rolling Stones).

Under the Covers (Reprise, 1997) è una raccolta di covers.

A Long Way Home (Reprise, 1998) è un album nella vena della ballata pop levigata.

La Croix d'Amour (Wea, 1999) raccoglie rarità e altre covers. Last Chance for a Thousand Years (1999) è un’antologia della sua carriera. Dwightyoakamacoustic.net (2000) scodella versioni acustiche dei suoi classici.

Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000) si riavvale della produzione cosmopolita di Gone (What Do You Know About Love, For Love's Sake).

South of Heaven West of Hell (Warner, 2001) è la colonna sonora del suo primo film, e soprattutto uno dei suoi dischi migliori, percorrendo la gamma dal quasi gospel Who At The Door Is Standing al rave up The Darkest Hour.

Population Me (2003) seemed to end an era of experimentation: Population Me matches the banjo with a trumpet, but The Late Great Golden State (one of his best), Fair To Midland, I'd Avoid Me Too, and If Teardrops Were Diamonds (a duet with Willie Nelson) return to his original vein.

Blame The Vain (New West, 2005), the first album that Yoakam recorded without producer and guitarist Pete Anderson, continues that return to his roots, but there is little to break the monotonous parade of dejavu moments after the rockabilly Blame The Vain.

He seemed to turn away from the Bakersfield sound on 3 Pears (2012), that contains Take Hold of My Hand and the Beck-produced garage-rocker A Heart Like Mine.

Second Hand Heart (2015) contains the catchy In Another World and She.

Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars (2016) is an album of bluegrass reinterpretations of some of his old songs by a combo comprising guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Stuart Duncan, banjo player Scott Vestal, mandolinist Adam Steffey and bassist Barry Bales

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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