Country Strum und Drang

  Even those born with the anti-country music gene might
feel fluctuations in their vital signs after a healthy listen to
Dwight Yoakam's "GONE".

..his invited ghosts
appear to salute Dwight , not the
other way around

Mr. Yoakam is a world class
sinner in appropriating a wealth of popular music signatures, then devils in his own details, until, amazingly, his invited ghosts appear to salute Dwight, not the other way around. As Country as grits, there's some real subtle seasoning here: Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Patsy Cline,
Leonard Cohen and Phil Spector-like production values. I'm going to take a chance here: in conception, not content, "Gone" is a country cousin to Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds." Both argue for a maturity in handling an ego large enough to create, and subsequently more apt to alter in the face of rejection. Both guys can author an anthem, but can they address an envelope. Each, in escaping a genre, is all the more a prisoner in personal relationships. You gotta be grounded in somethin'. What woos the masses repels the individual, up close and personal. So if genius is what you are, and it can't be loved, you have two choices: temper or trust your creativity. Mr Yoakam is as sure as taxes here, and "This Much I Know" is far more mature in its appraisal of lost love than Brian's "Caroline No" and just as pretty. Dwight's remarkable pop ditty, "Near You," is a secular "God Only Knows"…check out this verse….

I could try to just lie
and tell people I'm free
like a wave tellin' sand
it won't go back to the sea

Surfs Up! Cowboy….
Where Wilson was soon to wash out and has yet to wise up, Dwight is still growing in counter-intuitive Country. On "Gone," you won't find the sweet cussin' of lost love and losin' lyrics, forever country music's staples. While his songs stop short of being profane, the over-all sentiments are neither beer drinkin' simple, nor bourbon slamming self-indulgence. It's like twelve year-old scotch: acquire a taste, there's nothing better.

The Convicted Critic

I know the opening wave is from THIS TIME ….