For Dwight Yoakam, the Bakersfield beat goes on | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

For Dwight Yoakam, the Bakersfield beat goes on 

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click to enlarge Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam

Emily Joyce

Dwight Yoakam’s most recent single sounds like it could’ve been found in a jukebox of obscure 45s at a 1960s California honky-tonk, despite having been written and released (on Reprise) last year. “Pretty Horses” has a steady backbeat shuffle, and Yoakam peppers his smooth tone with twangy flourishes. He leans into his high notes hard, almost turning them into pitch bends, and gives an occasional yelp—though they’re usually masked by driving drums or dropped into organ solos. The song simultaneously fits in with modern roots music and classic Bakersfield country, and thankfully lacks the Nashville slickness that Yoakam has avoided for much of his 35-year career. The B side, “Then Here Came Monday,” is a heartbreaker with beaten-down, love-gone-wrong lyrics a la Merle Haggard: “Friday’s never long / It feels real easy / Till Saturday winds up just Friday’s fool.” Yoakam continues to champion the music that inspires his work, not only by hosting his Bakersfield Beat channel on SiriusXM but also by sprinkling his concerts with covers of his heroes, including Haggard and Buck Owens. At this show, you can also look forward to seeing Yoakam break out his trademark one-man line-dance boogie when he gets transported by the beat.   v


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