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Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere (American Music Series) Paperback – March 15, 2012
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Largely a musicology review. Not something a fan would want to read.Published 4 months ago by tworoses
This was really more about Don McLeese getting to rehash his ideas on the three billion genres of Country music than about Dwight. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mia Kalish, Ph.D.
I really enjoyed this book by Don McLeese. If offers up an in depth review of Dwight Yoakam's music throughout his career, up until about 2007, I believe. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Merrilee Buroker
I READ THIS BOOK IN 2 DAYS WHICH IS A RECORD FOR ME! I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED DWIGHT YOAKUM TREMENDOUSLY AND THIS BOOK GAVE ME A LOT OF INSIGHT TO THE PERSON. Read morePublished 17 months ago by joyce norman
Thought it was great. He can sing anything I love his voicePublished 19 months ago by Daniel A Vaccaro
My friend is a great fan of Dwight. The book was a birthday gift. She loved it!Published on September 29, 2014 by Pamela J. Fawcett
This was an enjoyable read and packed with so much information about the process of making music over the years. Read morePublished on July 20, 2014 by CarolD