Dwight Yoakam is the unsung champion of today's alt-country movement. His 1986 debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., made both country music and cowboy hats cool for rockers and punks alike. Listeners craving substance and soul found both in Yoakam's timeless, gritty sound. Through him, many discovered the songwriter's own influences, from Johnny Cash to Buck Owens. In the nearly 20 years that have passed since his first release, Yoakam's recordings have only gotten better as his own surprising talents have surfaced in new ways: He proved himself a formidable actor as the abusive stepfather in Sling Blade, among other roles. His last two releases -- the breathtaking solo outing dwightyoakamacoustic.net and his current Tomorrow's Sounds Today -- should be regarded as contemporary classics. Tomorrow's Sounds features masterful dance-hall anthems, three-chord weepers and twanged pop gems such as the irresistible "Love Caught Up to Me." Yoakam continues to give hope to those who believe in the power -- and joy -- of good country music.
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