By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
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By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
Dwight Yoakam first became known in the mid-80s as part of the new-traditionalist movement in country that included the more mainstream artists Randy Travis, George Straight and Vince Gill. The rise of these new traditionalists was a reaction to watered-down country they felt relied too heavily on pop elements, and they sought to get back to basics.
The Los Angeles-based Yoakam has been successful since his 1986 Reprise records debut Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and has continued turning out solid classic country music that reflects his insular sensibilities. He has explored different aspects of country over the years, but his roots seem to trace to honky tonk elders like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other alum of the Bakersfield, California scene. He sounds good on a jukebox and looks good onstage, often donning Nudie Cohn-inspired suits that hearken back to the country & western of the 1960s.
Also known for his acting, Yoakam has been featured in films indie and otherwise, perhaps best known for his villainous turns in the films Sling Blade and Panic Room. Yoakam's star is on the rise, too -- literally earlier this month he got a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. More crucial to fans of his music, he recently released a strong new studio album of honky tonk and bluegrass music entitled Population Me, behind which he is touring the country.
Yoakam comes to town with an acoustic-based show, and if a June 18th appearance on The Tonight Show speaks to his current touring company, the live show may just feature a large string section.