“I ain't ever seen the big time/ honey, that's OK with me/ just sitting on the front porch/ all the big time I'll ever need.” - The Big Time - Dwight Yoakam

Kentucky born singing actor Dwight Yoakam has shared more than a little cosmic karma with Billy Bob Thornton in his 30 year career.

Unlike six times wed Arkansas raised singing and cinema mate Billy Bob, now 59, he hasn't co-written his humorous life story biography with singing Texan crime novelist Kinky Friedman.

But Billy Bob shares another link with young Dwight, just 58, that is accentuated by his Hollyweird history.

Thornton , like many actors and singers, has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It's a disorder shared by Dwight's character Doyle Hargraves in the award winning 1996 Thornton-penned Sling Blade movie and by Thornton 's own character in the 2001 film Bandits.

The duo, long renowned for blazing careers beyond the mainstream, has a rich acting and directing catalogue in movies, TV dramas and music shows.

Billy Bob professes a love for roots country and has released four solo albums - with and without his Boxmasters band.

And Dwight, who opted for the Bakersfield honky tonk sound rather than the Nashville Music Row factory, is on the road again promoting his 19 th studio album Second Hand Heart .

It's his second release since returning to Warner Bros/Reprise Records .

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, his highest-charting album since 1988's Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room that landed in the top spot.

Yoakam has also released six compilations of hits and misses from a life that began in Pikeville, same hometown as Patty Loveless - another singing Coal-Miner's Daughter .

Dwight began following his muse in high school in Columbus , Ohio , before he graduated in 1974.

So here we are in 2015 and Dwight has returned to his roots that he exposed on two Australian tours that featured concerts at St Kilda Palais.

Most recently he appeared live on the 57 th Grammys with prolific singer-songwriter Brandy Clark, nominated for best new artist at 37 for her 12 Stories album.

Washington born Brandy, also nominated for best country album, ignited a sales storm by performing her song Hold My Hand with Dwight who once held actress Bridget Fonda's hand.

In 2000 Bridget appeared in South of Heaven, West of Hell - the movie that Dwight directed, co-wrote and acted in with Vince Vaughn.

Dwight also joined Vaughn in Four Christmases with fellow singing actor and dual Australian tourist Tim McGraw.

His 35 film roles includes Tommy Lee Jones' Cannes Film Festival award-winning The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Hollywood Homicide and David Fincher's Panic Room.

So what about this sonic crack at fame for Dwight?

Well, his wry Elvis inspired song The Big Time dates back to 1989 and his character professes love for his female lead who is a dab hand at laundering.

Not that practiced by those big city barons of crime.

It's bucolic grime that captures droll Dwight's eye, wit and maybe feminist's ears.

“There ain't no-one in the big time that hangs out laundry like you do/ I'm having myself a big time/ just watching you rub and scrub the whole day through.”


“You say that you will/ when I know that you won't/ you say that you do/ baby when I know you don't/ really love me/ you never loved me at all/ honey you never tried/ if you did you would have had to crawl.” - Liar - Dwight Yoakam.

Yoakam has put his cinematic skills to use in his new video for his punchy rockabilly fuelled Liar that we'll give exposure to on Nu Country TV.

The video, directed by Gregory Alosio, shows Yoakam and his band playing on the back of an El Camino, parked on Sunset Boulevard in Burbank in Los Angeles .

While most artists would request that a busy street like Sunset Boulevard be shut down for the filming, Yoakam and Alosio decided to capture the traffic live instead.

“The Liar music video shoot was an especially fun and unique shoot to direct,” Alosio says, “because, after lengthy negotiations with the city, we were granted an unusual and special clearance to capture a live performance on the legendary Sunset Strip , a street that, more than any other, has earned iconic status for being the location of music history for decades.”

The video also shows live models, with the word LIAR emblazoned in bright colours on their white bodysuits, performing in a window behind Yoakam and his band.

“Acknowledging the rich music history of the Sunset Strip , concept-wise, in the video,” Alosio explains, “we aimed to have one foot firmly planted in a live country/rock performance and the other placed in a whimsical, creative pop art aesthetic of the 1960s.”

It works.

So does his album that features tear-drenched new song In Another World as its entrée.

Dwight dreams out loud for a world where stains on a broken heart fade away and are replaced “with hopes lost from today/ bound by love that never strays.”

It segues into another new pained passion paean She and dynamic delivery of 2000 self-explanatory Dreams Of Clay and the equally morose title track penned in 2009.

Don't get the impression this is a wrist slitting nightmare - the singer's salvation lurks deep in Second Hand Heart and Dwight and his band deliver it with a joyous jangle.

Another new song Off Your Mind finds the artist's character self-pity peaking after his former lover leaves for another beau without saying goodbye while faith mitigates the regret and pain of Believe.

This might sound like paranoia pumped from a seasoned shrink's couch but Yoakam maximizes his high lonesome sound as he personalises the Kentucky character in a dynamic version of the classic Man Of Constant Sorrow from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou .

And, of course, the singer finishes his disc with the assertive angst of Liar , wry humour of The Big Time and the triumphant optimism of V's Of Birds where the angels join their feathered friends in their freedom flight.

Prolific Alabama singer-songwriter-bassist and long-time Yoakam pal Anthony Crawford, now 58 and recording partner of wife Savanah Lee in Sugarcane Jane , wrote this uplifting finale back in 1993.

It's a perfect catalyst to ensure Yoakam keeps his fame flame burning as he enjoys creativity longevity.

And, of course, vast success - despite swimming beyond the myopic mainstream.

That's 25 million albums sold, 21 Grammy nominations, 12 gold and nine platinum or multi-platinum discs.

Dwight even holds the title as the most frequent guest on the Tonight Show .

top / back to diary