Music Break: Dwight Yoakam

It Won't Hurt/Today I Started Loving...

Live TV 2007 MSNBC



  1. There was a time probably 20 years ago when I had NO desire to tie anything remotely "country" to my ears...actually that's not true because I loved Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. But mostly when I thought of country I thought of New Country. And it might have been just a stupid knee-jerk reaction or it might have been valid but I didn't want to hear any more of it than I absolutely had to.

    Even through that, Dwight Yoakam always sort of snuck onto my radar. There was something very different about him; at the time I didn't realize that it was what was the SAME about him that mattered most, but his music always stood apart from his contemporaries in my mind.

    I think it's completely fair to say that Dwight Yoakam is the person who inadvertently (maybe) caused me to look into older country music. I want to give Cash all the credit, but the truth is that I may never have gotten to Bakersfield without Yoakam, and without Bakersfield you lose Haggard and Owens and Wynn Stewart, and without them you might not look deeper and ever get to Woody Guthrie (beyond "This Land Is Your Land", which I guess everybody knows) and the whole folk scene, and you sure never get back to the East Coast and Dock Boggs and The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. And I know I'm missing a thousand other people here, and maybe there are other ways to get there but I think we each have our own way in our own time and my way was to spend a lot of time semi-grudgingly liking Dwight Yoakam.

    I've long outgrown most of that sort of foolishness; I can listen now and just dig the man's work for what it is: very good country music. Somehow, though, it feels like he was a gatekeeper or a town crier or something much more important than I can put into words.

    Thanks for posting this, JR. It's good to hear the music, and it's also good to think about this stuff sometimes.

  2. ...and I swear to God the captcha code for that was: barack ... I'd laugh if it wasn't so ironically scary. :)