Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

4.0 1
by Don McLeese
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

From his formative years playing pure, hardcore honky-tonk for mid-'80s Los Angeles punk rockers through his subsequent surge to the top of the country charts, Dwight Yoakam has enjoyed a singular career. An electrifying live performer, superb writer, and virtuosic vocalist, he has successfully bridged two musical worlds that usually have little use for each… See more details below

Overview

From his formative years playing pure, hardcore honky-tonk for mid-'80s Los Angeles punk rockers through his subsequent surge to the top of the country charts, Dwight Yoakam has enjoyed a singular career. An electrifying live performer, superb writer, and virtuosic vocalist, he has successfully bridged two musical worlds that usually have little use for each other-commercial country and its alternative/Americana/roots-rocking counterpart. Defying the label "too country for rock, too rock for country," Yoakam has triumphed while many of his peers have had to settle for cult acceptance. Four decades into his career, he has sold more than 25 million records and continues to tour regularly, with an extremely loyal fan base. In Dwight Yoakam, award-winning music journalist Don McLeese offers the first musical biography of this acclaimed artist. Tracing the seemingly disparate influences in Yoakam's music, McLeese shows how he has combined rock and roll, rockabilly, country, blues, and gospel into a seamless whole. In particular, McLeese explores the essential issue of "authenticity" and how it applies to Yoakam, as well as to country music and popular culture in general. Drawing on wide-ranging interviews with Yoakam and his management, while also benefitting from the perspectives of others closely associated with his musical success (including producer-guitarist Pete Anderson, Yoakam's partner throughout his most popular and creative decades), Dwight Yoakam pays tribute to the musician who has established himself as a visionary beyond time, an artist who could title an album Tomorrow's Sounds Today and deliver it.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In spite of Dwight Yoakam's popularity and impressive ability to cross musical boundaries, no biography has ever before been published. Award-winning music critic McLeese (New York Times Reader: Arts & Culture) fills that gap with this jaunty, affectionate, honest, and compelling book. Drawing on interviews with Yoakam and his friends and fellow musicians, McLeese guides us through Yoakam's early years in Kentucky and Ohio in the 1970s, where his formative musical influences were country music and the Monkees, to his years in California, where he perfected his musical persona and came roaring out of the L.A. roots-punk circuit and into the national spotlight. McLeese takes us album by album from Yoakam's firecracker debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (1986), to his 2007 tribute to his mentor Buck Owens, Dwight Sings Buck. Yoakam emerges from these pages as a hard-working, honest artist, deeply committed to compositions that both preserve the heritage of country music and push its boundaries to carry the music, the tradition, and his listeners into new territories. VERDICT This lovingly crafted and compulsively readable biography is essential for fans of Yoakam and lovers of good music writing.—Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Evanston, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Music critic McLeese (Journalism/Univ. of Iowa; The New York Times Reader: Arts & Culture, 2010, etc.) examines the career of iconoclastic country star Dwight Yoakam. The author informs us early on that this book is not intended to be a biography, but rather "an extended piece of music and culture criticism." Of course, McLeese provides some biographical detail, mainly as an entry into how Yoakam's upbringing and experiences have informed his work. Of particular interest to the author, clearly a fan of his subject, is the musician's childhood fascination with television and especially the Monkees, influences that led Yoakam to Los Angeles, where his career began. Though his earliest support came, oddly, from that city's punk-music scene, it's clear that Yoakam had his sights set on Nashville stardom from the beginning. The book often reads as a refutation of the charge that Yoakam, because he paid attention to his image and put on a good show, and later pursued an acting career, is somehow less "authentic" an artist because of it. Though McLeese does a fine job countering that idea, his focus on it over 200-plus pages begins to feel defensive. The narrative benefits from the author's extensive access to Yoakam and his collaborators, most notably longtime guitarist and producer Pete Anderson, as it proceeds album by album through his career. Context on the country-music industry and how it has changed during Yoakam's time, particularly B.G. and A.G. (before and after the rise of Garth Brooks in the early 1990s), adds depth to what might otherwise read as an extended magazine article. Perfect for Yoakam fans looking for a book-length critical defense of his work.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292742796
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
05/10/2012
Series:
American Music Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
525,351
File size:
1 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >