South of Heaven, West of Hell

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The companion soundtrack to a movie directed and co-written by Dwight Yoakam, South of Heaven, West of Hell is also one of the country star's most stirring albums, minus the nine snippets of film dialogue interspersed throughout. His hard country approach fits perfectly with this revisionist western, in which Yoakam also stars, along with Billy Bob Thornton, Vince Vaughn, and Bridget Fonda. Yoakam's distinctive sound signature bristles through the rocking "The First Thing Smokin' " co-written with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and the quintessential honky-tonk tearjerker "What's Left of Me" co-written with Mick Jagger, but when he and his longtime collaborator Pete Anderson ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The companion soundtrack to a movie directed and co-written by Dwight Yoakam, South of Heaven, West of Hell is also one of the country star's most stirring albums, minus the nine snippets of film dialogue interspersed throughout. His hard country approach fits perfectly with this revisionist western, in which Yoakam also stars, along with Billy Bob Thornton, Vince Vaughn, and Bridget Fonda. Yoakam's distinctive sound signature bristles through the rocking "The First Thing Smokin' " co-written with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and the quintessential honky-tonk tearjerker "What's Left of Me" co-written with Mick Jagger, but when he and his longtime collaborator Pete Anderson push the envelope a bit, the results are breathtaking. The dense atmosphere, twangy guitar, ominous kettle drums, and soaring, Billy Rose-style strings of "Somewhere" come out of Bakersfield by way of Phil Spector, stamping this as an instant Yoakam classic. Epitomizing the album's spiritual content, the stomping duet "Who at the Door Is Standing" is elevated by Bekka Bramlett's scorching, blue-eyed soul testimony, and the celebratory "The Darkest Hours" is fleshed out by Memphis-style horns and a Booker T.-like organ. Yoakam saves the best for last with a spare rendition of the traditional spiritual "It Is Well with My Soul," which he tears from his innermost being, delivering a stunning vocal performance pulled right out of the old country church in his native Kentucky. South of Heaven, West of Hell is prime-time Dwight Yoakam, who honors tradition even as he advances it and remembers always to speak directly to his listeners' hearts. At the very least, mark this as one of the year's best. But it's so much more.
All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Dwight Yoakam's soundtrack for the gritty Western South of Heaven, West of Hell will only partially satisfy his fans. Although the album is nearly an hour long, half of the tracks are spoken segments from the film, and while this tactic has worked well for Quentin Tarantino's pop culture-brimming soundtracks, South of Heaven only serves to lose the listener with its ill-placed breaks and uninteresting dialogue. Aside from that rather major flaw, there are a handful of really good Yoakam tunes on hand including the loose, ambling opening track "Words" and a soulful version of "The Darkest Hour." The album also features a duet with Bekka Bramlett Bekka & Billy, as well as the bluesy "The First Thing Smokin'" co-written with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and the pleading "What's Left of Me" co-written with Mick Jagger. While the album certainly has its strong points, it is no substitute for a complete Dwight Yoakam record. With the film release of South of Heaven, West of Hell, Yoakam has proven himself to be a fine actor and a fair director, but there are legions of country fans who will be happier when he steps out from behind the camera and back into the studio.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/2/2001
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624801221
  • Catalog Number: 48012

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Words (5:21)
  2. 2 Old Friend (0:51)
  3. 3 Who at the Door Is Standing (2:31)
  4. 4 Good Afternoon - Vince Vaughn (0:30)
  5. 5 Tears for Two (3:23)
  6. 6 Ma'am (0:41)
  7. 7 The Darkest Hour (3:28)
  8. 8 When You Was Shot - Otto Felix (0:15)
  9. 9 The First Thing Smokin' (3:40)
  10. 10 How Long Was It - Billy Bob Thornton (0:10)
  11. 11 What's Left of Me (4:55)
  12. 12 All Anybody Can Do (0:07)
  13. 13 Somewhere (3:48)
  14. 14 A Lotta Good People (0:11)
  15. 15 The Last Surrender (2:44)
  16. 16 Show 'Em Your Badge (0:23)
  17. 17 No Future in Sight (7:07)
  18. 18 Existence - Vince Vaughn (0:40)
  19. 19 It Is Well With My Soul (3:25)
  20. 20 Words - Lee Thornberg (4:47)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dwight Yoakam Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Dobro, Vocals
John Acosta Cello
Pete Anderson Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Percussion, Piano, Electric Guitar, Guitar (Baritone)
Bekka Bramlett Background Vocals
Jonathan Clark Background Vocals
Skip Edwards Keyboards
Tim Goodwin Classical Guitar
Scott Joss Fiddle
Gary Morse Pedal Steel Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Taras Prodaniuk Bass
David Woodford Saxophone
Jim Christie Drums
Lee Thornberg Trombone, Trumpet
Chris Bleth Violin, Bass Clarinet, Oboe
Billy Bob Thornton Track Performer
John Noreyko Tuba
Technical Credits
Dwight Yoakam Composer, Art Direction
Pete Anderson Arranger, Producer
Sally Browder Engineer
Jim Latham String Arrangements
Stephen Marcussen Mastering
Steve Moore Guitar Techician
Kim Biggs Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A beautiful, reverent CD

    Just when you think have Dwight Yoakam pegged, he goes and throws you a curve ball. Well, as long as the curve ball is as good as his newest CD is, long-time fans have nothing to complain about. This CD is labeled as a soundtrack and bears the same name as his recent Western film. But only two of the tracks on the CD are actually on the film's soundtrack (the CD also has very short bits of dialogue from the film that function as lead-ins to the songs). These are the first and last tracks, both entitled Words, with the second a jazzy instrumental version of the first. The remaining songs are, as the CD's cover note states, ''inspired by'' the film's themes of life, death, and redemption. These themes represent new ground for Yoakam, whose music tends to focus on the tribulations of love gone bad. The CD also includes Yoakam's extremely successful interpretation of gospel-inspired country, demonstrating that, some fifteen years into his recording career, Yoakam maintains the capacity to expand his musical horizons and surprise -- and yes, delight -- his fans. The harder-rocking country tracks on the CD are excellent and allow a certain Guitar God by the name of Pete Anderson several glorious moments. This is exactly what any fan of Yoakam would expect, especially when his co-writers include Mick Jagger (that old honky-tonk guy) and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I particularly liked Somewhere and First Thing Smokin' -- listen for Yoakam to momentarily verve off into an early Beatles hit in the middle of this track. But what really makes this album stand out are the spirituals, both traditional tunes and those written by Yoakam himself. One of them is The Darkest Hour (Is Just Before the Dawn), which Yoakam actually recorded some years back with the legendary Ralph Stanley. Yoakam is performing this song from the CD (along with Tears For Two and What's Left of Me) on his current tour, and the song's lyrics have gained great timeliness in light of the great national tragedy of September 11th. This beautiful tune is a far superior tribute to the victims of senseless violence than any of the maudlin, jingoistic songs country radio is now playing. Bekka Bramlett lends superb support on Who At the Door Is Standing, a great upbeat tune which comes across as the kind of hillbilly gospel that Yoakam might have heard in an Appalachian church as a child. But to my mind, the best track is It Is Well With My Soul, which by itself is worth the entire price of the CD. Sung with only a piano accompaniment, It Is Well With My Soul has to be one of Yoakam's finest performances. In it, he bares a part of his personality, his personal spirituality, which has previously remained mostly private, in a virtuoso, soaring performance. Yoakam has superior vocal abilities, with his effortless phrasing and distinctive, silvery tone, but here he simply outdoes himself. He is sometimes criticized for an aloof, standoffish presence on the stage, but in this performance, he communicates a passionate, life-affirming connection with God that never descends into smug self-righteousness. The beauty of it is that he manages to do that with the simplest of musical arrangements. That is real genius. Lesser talents, please take careful notes and learn something from a master of Americana music.

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