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Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere (American Music Series) Paperback – March 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: American Music Series
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (March 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292723814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292723818
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This lovingly crafted and compulsively readable biography is essential for fans of Yoakam and lovers of good music writing. (Henry L. Carrigan Jr. Library Journal 2012-03-01)

About the Author

Don McLeese was formerly the pop music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Austin American-Statesman, as well as country columnist and frequent contributor to Rolling Stone and a senior editor for No Depression. He has chronicled Dwight Yoakam in reviews, features, and interviews from the beginning of the artist’s recording career through the present day. He currently teaches journalism at the University of Iowa. His most recent book is The New York Times Reader: Arts and Culture.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I am a huge Dwight Yoakam fan.
Judi Fryer
Maybe a longer and less abstract book will come along at some point.
J. Stewart
The writing is very straightforward.
Bryan E. Leed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By B. Woodley on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am only half way through, but I am VERY impressed with this musical biography about Dwight Yoakam. I like how this is not just a chronology of Dwight's life, although it contains personal biographical information. It's a happy medium of thorough research, real life experiences by the author recounting Dwight shows he attended, comparing Dwight to other artists and shows he's attended, plus interviews he conducted with Dwight, Pete Anderson and others who impacted Dwight through the years. I never knew, for example, the extent of Dave Alvin's (The Blasters) contribution to helping Dwight get noticed in the 1980s by the rock/roots/punk crowd in L.A. And that going on a nationwide tour with The Blasters led to Dwight getting noticed and signed by a major record label, Warner in Nashville. Even though he wasn't Nashville's typical artist in the vacuous Urban Cowboy era. Other people were also influential in Dwight's career, of course, but this was cool to learn because I am also a Dave Alvin fan.

The author seems to get inside Dwight's head and heart and has so far impressed me with Dwight's determination, TALENT, focus, professionalism, AUTHENTICITY and the HUGE impact he's had on popular music and American culture ever since his big breakthrough in 1986, encompassing both the rock and country music genres. The book help me to appreciate just how MUCH Dwight had to overcome to make it big in both mainstream commercial country music (without being a sellout to tradition and his unique style) and with rock fans like me. Nobody else has accomplished this to such an extent in my generation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DC Gunner on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally, a biography of Dwight Yoakam! I'm so glad that the first one, is a really good one. This is all about the music so if you're looking for girlfriend gossip you'll be disappointed. You won't be disappointed, however, about a fast-moving but well-told story of Dwight's musical career.

Through interviews, research and his own experience, Mr. McLeese tells the story of why Dwight's first demo failed to excite people, how Pete Anderson sharpened the band's sound and allowed Dwight to focus on signing and songwriting, how Dave Alvin of The Blasters gave them an audience to hone their sound, and then with their enormous talent, great songs, exciting sound, steadfast professional, old-fashioned hard work and some good timing (coming between Urban Cowboy and Garth Brooks) they put "hillbilly" music back on country radio and went on to sell millions of albums. There's a good discussion here about Dwight and Pete's business strategy, how they were always aiming to be commercially successful and not an alternative act, and how they were not only planning for their first album but for their first three! McLeese also talks a lot about the music and devotes a chapter to each album. This book has got me pulling out old the CDs and listening to the entire albums again.

A lot of the book also discusses the dynamic between Dwight and Pete and how they worked together for so long to craft great music. It also goes into quite a bit of detail of how that relationship ended. (I had no idea how financially disastrous Dwight's western was and how it ended up affecting his music career.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Hundley VINE VOICE on November 2, 2012
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It really is kind of surprising that for an artist as popular and critically lauded as Yoakam has been that there is so little written about him and his music. This is a solid first step in remedying that gulf. This is not, and not intended to be, a biography, but niether is it a full critical treatment of his work. It is a hybrid of sorts, rather like an extended magazine profile and overview of his career to this point (it ends with the promise of a new release, which turns out to be 3 Pears).

McLeese is unabashedly a fan and is mostly able to avoid gushing, but not entirely: he can lay the hyperbole on a little thick at times. I, too, am a fan, but I tended to squirm a little at the repeated assertions of Yoakam's greatness, brilliance, uniqueness and exalted place in coutnry music history. He is, indeed, a significant figure - probably the most significant popular artist in country music in the 80's and 90's - but a little of this goes a long way. And while I agree that it is a shame that the very fact of his popularity in the 90's tended to turn off the "cool kids" of the roots / alt-country / real-country schools, I think McLeese dips into this well a time or two too often. Did I mention he repeats himself a time or two?

But these are my only real carping. As a while, this is a valuable book for both Yoakam appreciaters and those looking into the alternatives to whatever the heck it is passes for mainstream country music in the past 35 years. It really is remarkable that Yoakam was able to sell as many records as he did during his run at the top of the charts considering the climate(s) in mainstream country (Kenny Rogers, the "hat boys", Garth Brooks, various Shanias, etc.).
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