Deep Album Cuts Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam

I did a couple country installments very early in this series (George Jones and Brad Paisley), but have neglected the genre since then. So this seemed overdue, and Dwight Yoakam felt like an obvious choice to me. A cheap cassette of Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. that I fished out of a cutout bin as a teenager was maybe the first country album I ever owned, and is still one of my favorites. And his last couple albums, including Second Hand Heart, released in April, have been really wonderful records, brimming with as much melody and humor and energy as anything these days from an artist who's been making records for three decades. And since there was a lot I hadn't heard from the middle of that long career, this was a good opportunity to dive in.

Dwight Yoakam Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. South Of Cincinnati
2. I'll Be Gone
3. Bury Me (featuring Maria McKee)
4. Johnson's Love
5. This Drinkin' Will Kill Me
6. One More Name
7. Send Me The Pillow (featuring Maria McKee)
8. Sad, Sad Music
9. Dangerous Man
10. This Time
11. Two Doors Down
12. Wild Ride
13. Never Hold You
14. Listen
15. A Promise You Can't Keep
16. If Teardrops Were Diamonds (featuring Willie Nelson)
17. Just Passin' Time
18. Waterfall
19. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
20. Believe
21. Liar

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 from Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (1986)
Tracks 4 and 5 from Hillbilly Deluxe (1987)
Tracks 6 and 7 from Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (1988)
Tracks 8 and 9 from If There Was A Way (1990)
Tracks 10, 11 and 12 from This Time (1993)
Track 13 from Gone (1995)
Track 14 from A Long Way Home (1998)
Track 15 from Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000)
Track 16 from Population Me (2003)
Track 17 from Blame The Vain (2005)
Tracks 18 and 19 from 3 Pears (2012)
Tracks 20 and 21 from Second Hand Heart (2015)

I like Yoakam's singles, but since I didn't really grow up with much country radio, and his hits were mainly a little before my time, I don't really know him for those songs and just treat him as an album artist. But some of the deep cuts really are so strong that it's crazy to me that they were never released as singles, especially "Dangerous Man." One of my favorites on Guitars, Cadillacs has always been "Bury Me," the duet with Maria McKee, who was in Lone Justice at the time but I think of mainly for her '90s albums and her great song on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. So it was fun to check out Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room and realize she sings harmony on a track there.

With these playlists, I usually either survey the artist's whole career, or, if it's a really particularly large catalog, I kinda stick to a particular end of the chronology, particularly if they only had hits part of the time. And it would've been easy to focus on the early part of Dwight Yoakam's career. He had a steady stream of major country hits through all of his first 5 albums. But after his peak, 1993's triple platinum This Time, he experienced a sharp commercial decline, to the point that he was getting negligible radio play by the end of the '90s.

So I could've cut things off there, but again, I like the later albums a lot, and wanted to highlight how he's never really fallen off. But it was interesting to listen through all the albums and try to hear whether there was any dip in quality. And I guess 1995's Gone is not as good as This Time, but it's not "sell less than a quarter of its predecessor" bad, I guess the times were just changing. And that's a little silly to say, since Yoakam was always such a traditionalist, steeped in honky tonk and the Bakersfield sound and other styles that few other commercial acts were reviving in the '80s and '90s. But man, the guy is just so fucking good at what he does, and brings so much of his voice, and the unique sound of the bands he leads, to the table that it's sad he had such a relatively short stint as a mainstream star.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
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