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Top 10 Picks - Essential Dwight Yoakam


What does it take to make a legend? Longevity? Quality? Style? All of that, and something extra, to turn a flash into a legend. It's impossible to say if Dwight Yoakam will become a legend in country music. However, there's no doubt that he should, because he certainly qualifies with "all of the above." Beginning in 1986, Yoakam has continued to stay true to his Kentucky-cum-Bakersfield sound, never once turning to flow with the mainstream. He has never compromised his honest hillbilly roots.

1. This Time

Dwight Yoakam - This Time
Dwight Yoakam hit his stride with the release of 'This Time.' While his early years were sparked by a great deal of radio play and some excellent performances, all his artistic genius shines in this brilliantly crafted album of music. From Bakersfield honky-tonk to hard-driving southern-fried rock, Dwight proved without a doubt that he was more than just a guy in tight jeans and a buff-colored Stetson.

2. Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.

Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc.
Dwight Yoakam thundered onto the scene with his impressive debut, 'Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc.,' which, as a 6-song EP, received such favorable response that Reprise/Nashville (later to become Warner/Reprise) signed the hotshot newcomer to re-issue the EP with four additional songs to make it a full-fledged LP and a new country star was born.

3. If There Was A Way

By 1990, Dwight Yoakam was a fixture in country music, and well on his way to becoming a legend. "If There Was A Way" was his fifth album, and contained at least six chart hits, and featured the first in his long string of "any great rock song can be a great country song" covers, with an impressive rendition of the Canned Heat classic rocker, "Let's Work Together."

4. Gone

'Gone' is one of the greatest forgotten albums I've ever heard. Despite some incredible music, tight production, sharp new sounds and the usual incredible lyrical artistry by Dwight Yoakam, 'Gone' remains buried, unnoticed by all but the most intense fans, many of whom agree: it's their favorite. This overlooked gem is one that begs to be heard.

5. A Long Way Home

This little-known gem from Dwight Yoakam's impressive career could very easily be called his finest album, as good as or perhaps even better than his 1993 masterpiece "This Time." The only thing "A Long Way Home" lacked was a push from the label to get it some radio play; as a piece of artistry, it is absolutely unparalleled.

6. Tomorrow's Sounds Today

Dwight Yoakam pulls out all the stops with this, his first album of the new millennium. With sharp-as-nails true honky-tonk and some of the best and sharpest playing by his band, one of the finest ever put together, "Tomorrow's Sounds Today" was and is one of the most welcome discs released at the dawn of the 2000's. It remains one of my very favorite Yoakam albums ever released.

7. dwightyoakamacoustic.net

For several years in concert, Dwight Yoakam would set apart a portion of the evening to come out on his own with his guitar and play a few songs acoustic for his audience. The adoring audience responded so favorably to these times that Dwight decided to sit down and record whatever of his catalog happened to come into his head. He went into the studio with long-time producer Pete Anderson, and this disc is the result.

8. Population Me

Dwight Yoakam gets better with age. "Population Me" is Yoakam's first release on his new label imprint, Electrodisc, through his brand-new record label, Audium. "Population Me" is only ten tracks long, about 30 minutes, but does not come up short on value. This is pure entertainment.

9. Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room

If absolutely nothing else, "Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room" will stand forever as the album that drew the great Buck Owens out of a premature retirement as Dwight Yoakam resurrected Buck's old tune "Streets of Bakersfield" and pulled Buck along to duet with him on it. This disc firmly fixed Yoakam's position as a solid performer and superior real country artist, with some of the sharpest, wittiest, and most cutting lyrics in his career to date.

10. South of Heaven, West of Hell

In 2000/2001, Dwight Yoakam poured his heart and soul and a lot of his own money into a movie project which left him stung by critics and a whole lot poorer. But out of the strange, esoteric, sometimes confusing, often thought-provoking film came this "soundtrack," which contains some of the finest music Yoakam ever wrote.
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