Live From Austin, TX
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Twenty-something Dwight Yoakam was literally the new kid in country music when he stepped onto the Austin City Limits stage in October 1988. But even then, as he has ever since, he was doing things his own way. Dwight was born in a small Kentucky town and grew up listening to mountain and bluegrass music, and unlike most of the mainstream country-pop crooners of the eighties, he almost single-handedly revived the rockabilly / honky tonk / hillbilly sound that was one of the cornerstones of country music’s formative years. Early on he discovered the fabled “Bakersfield” sound of the 60’s and adopted it as his own, in the tradition of country legends Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Buck, in fact, became his hero and friend. When Dwight was playing a fair in Bakersfield, he stopped by Buck’s office and coaxed him into playing a few songs with him onstage that night. The result was a lasting friendship and their historic duet, “Streets Of Bakersfield.” Much like his heroes, Dwight has been true to his roots and breaking new ground for almost 20 years. - Terry Lickona (Producer Austin City Limits)
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Yoakam’s set combined selections from his first three albums, mixing original material with covers of songs by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman (“Little Sister”), Homer Joy (“Streets of Bakersfield”), Johnny Cash (“Home of the Blues”), Johnny Horton (“Honky Tonk Man”), Lefty Frizzell (“Always Late With Your Kisses”) and Stonewall Jackson (“Smoke Along the Track”). His original material included nearly all of his hits to that point, as well as several album tracks. The band is superb, with Pete Anderson’s guitar and Scott Joss’ fiddle really standing out. Yoakam turns on the sex appeal as he introduces the sultry “What I Don’t Know,” the band turns up the heat for “Please, Please Baby” and “Little Sister,” and the audience joins in enthusiastically to close “Honky Tonk Man.”
As on the duet sung together in Owens’ set, the happiness shared by Yoakam and Owens in teaming up for “Streets of Bakersfield” is palpable - Owens reveling in the new artistic partnership that rekindled his interest in music, and Yoakam in working with his idol and mentor. Each has such a distinct voice, that the delight in hearing them sing together continues to rise as they swap verses and share the chorus. Flaco Jimenez joins the band onstage and stays to accentuate the sorrow of “Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room,” with Joss’ fiddle and Anderson’s low strings adding mournful notes. Yoakam tells several stories on the DVD that are elided on the CD, including an account of his first meeting with Johnny Cash.
The partnership between Yoakam and Anderson was incredibly fruitful, both artistically and commercially, but it wasn’t always easy to see past Yoakam’s charisma to Anderson’s immense talent as a guitarist. But here, even with Yoakam center stage, you can’t help but be drawn to Anderson’s licks as he solos on “Home of the Blues,” hot picks the closing “This Drinkin’ Will Kill Me,” and plays Yoakam on and off the stage with a twangy instrumental bumper. New West’s reissue combines the previously released CD and DVD, and it’s four-panel booklet provides credits, but no liner notes. It’s a terrific package that plays just as well on the stereo as it does on the screen. [©2017 Hyperbolium]