"She 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.

When 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.)

Dwight's band included drummer Mitch Marine, upright bassist Dave Roe (a 12-year veteran of Johnny Cash's band), and Texan guitarist Keith Gattis.

Gattis, 34, 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 Used Cuts.

"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.


"I talked 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 albums."

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 with strings.


Kentucky born colt Dwight Yoakam bleeds for his art - not just his music but his movies.

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 Me (Electrodisc-Audium.)

Yoakam, 46 and wearing finger stitches, returned to the set where he is an ex cop and security boss for a rap grifter.

The singer, 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.

"Films 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 Greenwood.

''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 says.

Greenwood later played the CD for Yoakam.

"Four or five songs in, The Back of Your Hand came by,'' Yoakam says.

''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?'


Yoakam 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."

"This 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 Planes.

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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