His name immediately conjures up compelling, provocative images: A pale cowboy hat with the brim pulled low; poured-on blue jeans; intricate, catchy melodies paired with poignant, brilliant lyrics that mesmerize with their indelible imprint.Yoakam's latest album, 3 Pears, balances his country core with a fiercely independent embrace of rock, Americana, pop and soul.
"The music just kind of dropped in, in that way," Yoakam reflects. "Music is a bit of a mystery. Like all emotions are. And I think maybe it was something I needed to express and to share with the world at large, something positive when all of us are kind of carrying around this collective, emotional weight."3 Pears is buzzing guitars and vulnerable ballads exploring the extremes extremes of Dwight's musical persona, all delivered with a revealing honesty.
"Heart Like Mine" puts a country garage-band spin on a classic pop/rock melody, while "Dim Lights", "Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)" is thrashing, 21st-century cowpunk. "Waterfall" takes an unusual, dreamy stab at embracing intimacy, and "Long Way To Go" –starts as a gently chugging lope grows to a stark piano/vocal performance and that’s just a few of the highlights of Yoakam’s unforgettable live performance.
Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, placing him in an elite cadre of global superstars. Starting with his debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., he has 12 gold albums and nine platinum or multi-platinum albums, including the triple-platinum "This Time.” More than 30 singles have made the Billboard's Country chart with 22 hitting the Top 20, including the incomparable hits like "Honky Tonk Man," "Please Please Baby," "Little Ways," "I Sang Dixie," "It Only Hurts When I Cry," "Fast as You" and "Thousand Miles from Nowhere." He's won two Grammys and earned a staggering 21 nominations.
As stellar as his recordings are, Yoakam's live performances are transcendent. Yoakam's journey is, by admission, not a straight path. But it is one that feeds the essential premise of his art. His unique musical and theatrical efforts are different facets of Yoakam's singular devotion to discovery of himself and the world in which he lives. "You search for a sandbox," he says, "and just have fun in it." Few have the ability to make so many sandboxes uniquely their own.