The most Elvis-like country performer since Elvis, Dwight Yoakam established his cred as a country traditionalist when he kicked off his first major-label release with a spirited cover of "Honky Tonk Man," a Johnny Horton classic from the '50s. Two great albums later, Yoakam topped the country charts with "Streets of Bakersfield," after coaxing a Bakersfield legend, Buck Owens, out of premature retirement to duet on a song he'd already recorded in '72. And Yoakam's own material is often just as firmly rooted in the sound of country's distant past. But while he's always worn his admiration for tradition like a finely tailored Nudie suit, that hasn't stopped him from tipping his hat to another great American tradition, rock 'n' roll, reviving songs made popular by Cheap Trick, Queen, The Clash, and Elvis, the latter a performer Yoakam may, in fact, have out-rocked when he blew the dust off "Little Sister" in a roadhouse just outside Pittsburgh last year. And despite what should have been a devastating breakup with longtime guitarist/producer Pete Anderson, Yoakam's latest album, Blame the Vain, is damn near quintessential Yoakam.
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