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Dwight takes the OMG Generation to school
on September 25, 2012
With Dwight Yoakam, you sort of learn to (happily) drop your expectations in the face of some erratic career moves. But I never expected this: a full-on schooling of his (supposed) contemporaries, a sly, sarcastic take on his own older sound, like Dwight + 8" Lift Kit, crushing everything in its path, all the faux-hawked tweeting country-poser crowd running in horror. I'm loving the fact that his album will never even be on the cheese-country radar: good for them. They don't deserve this stuff.
Example: "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke" just refuses to let up, and extends itself past a few false-endings to a place we were always hoping he'd go: an atom-bomb bar-band smack upside the head. "A Heart Like Mine" is Bakersfield on Caffeine, a shut-up-and-hold-on anthem of modern confidence with a vocal performance that should silence all doubters as to whether or not he's "got it". Then there's "Rock It All Away", a collision of Son Volt's grain-elevator chordage and gorgeous melody from the deepest Dwight classic reverie. I'm also a fan of "Missing Heart", one of the very few songs in 3/4 time I can stand lately, placed squarely there by a silent, forlorn dual-slide-guitar attack that would make the perfect soundtrack music. The entire album is full of pet moments and gripping excitement.
Fans of Dwight will dig this a lot, and celebrate its swift kick in the pants. Fans of what country music has become in the post-Idol era will not even know it's out there. Tragic, perhaps, but we're fine to let it go. Dwight was never about the interstate, he's much happier taking us down the back roads. At top speed, of course.