CLEARWATER — Dwight Yoakam will perform Friday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
Tickets start at $43.25. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
Yoakam has sold over 25 million albums worldwide, with five reaching the No. 1 spot on Billboard. He is a 21-time nominated, multiple Grammy Award winner and has 12 gold albums and nine platinum or multi-platinum albums. He has collaborated with everyone from Beck to ZZ Top, including Kid Rock, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack White. He has toured with the likes of Buck Owens, Johnny Cash and Hüsker Dü. Yoakam’s 2016 studio effort “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…” earned praise from NPR Music.
“It was part of Alison Krauss’ Union Station band colliding with the remnants of the Soggy Bottom band,” said Yoakam in a press release from Sacks and Co., talking about the four days of band tracking he did in Nashville with a group of acoustic all-stars he’d never worked with before. The ensemble included guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Barry Bales, mandolin player Adam Steffey, and banjo player Scott Vestal, under the production oversight of Gary Paczosa — another Krauss veteran — and Jon Randall, the co-writer of country hits like “Whiskey Lullaby.” And then I threw, I guess, a hillbilly version of the Beach Boys at it with my harmony vocals. That core bunch of players there in Nashville for those four days was a really fortuitous vortex, with those guys responding to what I wanted to do and me saying, ‘Look, let’s leave it loose and ragged at times.’ Rock and roll got some of its swagger from bluegrass. Let’s go back there and show some of that swagger if we can.”
In one sense, Yoakam wanted to be as faithful to the original traditions as possible, and in another, to mess with those just a little.
“I was very strident about exacting a colloquial expression from the guys when they sang along with me,” he said. “It’s really a composite of disparate elements that coalesce in this. Country-rock was born when Chris Hillman, who was a bluegrass mandolin player, took Clarence White, who came out of hardcore bluegrass, into the Byrds’ circle on the album before ‘Sweethearts of the Rodeo.’ So there’s this west coast bluegrass contingent that still echoes in my head — that whole sort of Byrds/Beach Boys thing colliding with mountain culture.”
In addition to his musical career, Yoakam has also appeared in over 40 feature films, including “Sling Blade,” “Panic Room,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky” with Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig, as well as the Amazon series “Goliath.” Over the course of his storied acting career, he has worked with the likes of Jodie Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and more.
In 1977, Yoakam left Kentucky for Nashville to embark on a music career but found that the Music City was moving away from traditional country roots to more pop-country. He found himself better suited to the post-Bakersfield movement and became one of the founding fathers of the “L.A. Cowpunk Scene” influenced by second-wave rockabilly and punk alongside X, Los Lobos, The Knitters, Rank & File and the Blasters.