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Dwight Yoakam

Nov. 16 • Horseshoe Casino

By Steven Rosen · November 12th, 2013 · Sound Advice
soundadvice_ dwight yoakam_photo_new_west_recordsPhoto: New West Records
Dwight Yoakam is an enormously influential figure for rescuing ’80s-era, Nashville, Tenn.,-based commercial Country music from its reliance on cloyingly familiar, Pop-oriented musical clichés and boring, hack storytelling truisms. Born in Pikeville, Ky., and raised in Columbus, Ohio, he loved the real older Country — artists like Buck Owens, Hank Williams, Johnny Horton and more — that had a honky-tonk, hot-guitar edge and seemed true to the lifestyle of its fans rather than putting on airs.

After an unsuccessful Nashville stint, he moved to L.A. and found favor among the “Cowpunk” contingent of the underground scene there. But in one of the biggest surprises in Country music history, his first major-label album — 1986’s Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. — was welcomed by Nashville and conservative Country radio as a much-needed change.

For four more albums, through 1993’s This Time, he scored with hit singles like “Honky Tonk Man” (a Horton song), “Little Sister” (a cover of the Elvis hit), “You’re the One” and “Streets of Bakersfield” (with Owens). 

Commercial Country has gone back to being bad again — poseurs offering Arena-Rock-wannabe guitar riffs, stage moves and tailgate-party lyrics — but Yoakam was slow to move over to the Americana scene, current home of other inventive ’80s Country musicians like Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash. However, with his 2012 3 Pears album, Yoakam finally made that move and has been warmly accepted.

DWIGHT YOAKAM plays Saturday, Nov. 16 at Horseshoe Casino downtown. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.



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