DIARY - 26 JULY 2005 - DWIGHT YOAKAM
BLAMES THE VAIN
drove up across the yard/ and through his mama's garden/ didn't touch
the brakes/ just slammed right into his Chevrolet." - Intentional
Heartache - Dwight Yoakam.
Dwight Yoakam had a vitriolic split with former producer and guitarist
Pete Anderson he sought lucrative solace.
He squeezed in roles in another three movies while their lawyers
two stepped in the infamous California courts.
Yoakam had a cameo in The Wedding Crashers, starring Owen
Wilson and Vince Vaughan, appeared opposite Penelope Cruz in Bandidas
and Salma Hayek in Tommy Lee Jones-written/directed The Three
Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
He also road tested 12 original tunes from his 18th album Blame
The Vain (New West-Shock.)
band included drummer Mitch Marine, upright bassist Dave Roe (a 12-year
veteran of Johnny Cash's band), and Texan guitarist Keith Gattis.
debuted in 1996 with a stone country self-titled disc before moving to
L.A. and cutting second album Big City Blues.
"Blame The Vain may tell the story of the demise of a love
relationship between a couple," Yoakam, now 48, revealed.
"But the subtext is about my love for music. I'm really looking forward
to playing this stuff on the road!"
Yoakam is diplomatic about his Anderson split but reclaims Skip Edwards
on pedal steel, piano and organ and bassist Taras Prodaniuk to join Gattis
and Marine in his studio band.
The Kentucky born, California based star has sold 23 million albums in
a career that began in 1983 when he met Anderson and prompted his 1986
vinyl debut disc.
But it stalled after he walked the Reprise plank and released covers album
"Twenty-one years and seventeen albums is a long time, but this all
came out of a moment in my life where I rediscovered what inspired me
the most musically," says Yoakam.
with Keith Gattis about co-producing this album, but he suggested I should
produce it myself. It's a lot of work. There's a simplistic, reckless
joy to this album. There's probably more of me on this album than on previous
That includes his gender and fender-bending frolic in the wounded wife
whimsy of Unintentional Heartache.
The victim strikes amid a whirlpool of jangled guitars and exacts summary
justice on her spouse with a spray paint assault on his boots, Dale Earnhardt
Jr poster and other prize chattels.
There's none of the guns, knives or bombs that daub his movies but the
raw roughage dips deep into the retro Bakersfield sound he has updated.
Yoakam sets the pace with his driving title track before slowing for his
melancholic Lucky That Way.
Sequencing is important.
The Haggard style weeper Does It Show punctuates Intentional
Heartache and the quirky dance hall tune Three Good Reasons.
Yoakam revives his steel drenched shuffle splendour in I'll Pretend
and the joyous I Wanna Love Again but breaks the mould with
a psychedelic intro in the faux vitriol of She'll Remember that
enjoys frequent tempo changes.
And he ignites the honky-tonk fervour of booze soaked solace in Lucky
That Way, Does It Show and The Last Heart in Line, replete
2003 CD REVIEW
born colt Dwight Yoakam bleeds for his art - not just his music but
The singer took a bath at the box office for his directorial debut
in South Of Heaven, West Of Hell.
But it was while filming latest movie Hollywood Homicide with
Harrison Ford and John Hartnett that he crashed, burned and bled.
"At the end of a car crash and gun battle with Harrison and Josh
I got hooked around the arm by an extra and fell into a steel pedestrian
barricade on Hollywood Boulevard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre,"
Yoakam revealed on the eve of the release of his 17th album Population
Yoakam, 46 and wearing finger stitches, returned to the set where
he is an ex cop and security boss for a rap grifter.
in danger of typecasting, is a shonky tonker in the movie that premiered
on June 13.
"I'm a bad guy again but I dress better," says Dwight, born
in the same Pikeville hospital but three months ahead of Patty Loveless.
are miracles in no minor way when they come to fruition at all."
Ironically, the miracle here was aptly named forlorn single The Back
Of Your Hand by actor Gregg Lee Henry - a friend of cast actor Bruce
''Gregg stopped by to pick up some CDs from Bruce because Bruce and Gregory
perform together and Bruce produced some demo sides on Gregg,'' Yoakam
Greenwood later played the CD for Yoakam.
"Four or five songs in, The Back of Your Hand came by,'' Yoakam
''By the chorus - 'Take a look at where I stand, pick a number from one
to two' - I was hooked. I was like, 'That's a good song. You think he
would let me record that?'
delved deep into personal turmoil, including his split from fellow
actor Bridget Fonda, to fuel songs on this 35 minute disc.
"I know I was being influenced by other changes in my life at
the end of 2002, the first third of 2003, on a personal level. There
were transitions and changes in my life. I don't journal my life.
I don't find it interesting. I know there are writers that do that.
It's just not my thing. I'm writing from a place where I'm not sure
what it refers to."
Yoakam took the title track from a pit stop in his troubled mind.
"The title is for me a thesis statement of what the song is,"
he says, 'in some ways the song seems to be about the need to care
about and watch out for one's self first."
place will tell you lies/With each passing shadow that goes by/But there's
only one or two, at most just three/More likely none that I still see."
So what else do you get for your buck from the world's best Buck soundalike?
The disc is kick started by The Late Great Golden State, penned
by Mike Stinson, and a harmonious homage to much-maligned Eagles that
segues into No Such Thing.
Then there's the wry word play of Fair To Midland - a Texas road
song dripping with pathos primed imagery and the optimistic An Exception
To The Rule and starkly bleak Stayin' Up Late.
I'd Avoid Me Too is a retro self-deprecating dancehall shuffle
with upright bass, pedal steel and drums.
If Teardrops Were Diamonds is a haunting duet with Shotgun Willie
Nelson where they daub the morphing of teardrops into precious stones
that pave a highway and erect a mountain.
A joyous peak is a cover of Bacharach-David tune Trains And Boats And
Yoakam, once again proves to be a cool conduit with roots country, with
major help from long time producer Pete Anderson and band featuring fiddler
Scott Joss and Gary Morse on pedal steel, banjo and dobro.
So what else is Dwight doing to keep the dingoes from his Malibu doors?
He is making Three Way Split in California.
"That's a very small independent and austere film which has proved
to be the most fun and invigorating."
Is it hard for a private life?
"I used to be able to get away with being anonymous by not wearing
my cowboy hat, but that's less the case in the last five years."
But not here in the unlucky radio country where minimal airplay reduces
chances of a return tour.
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