3 Pears album cover
3 Pears

Dwight Yoakam

Warner Bros. Records

Dwight Yoakam’s 18th studio album was his first in five years, and his most adventurous and stylistically wide-ranging since 1995’s Gone. He worked with Kid Rock on the literally sha-la-la-ing opening track, “Take Hold of My Hand,” and two other songs, “A Heart Like Mine” and “Missing Heart,” were produced by Beck. The album includes a raucous cowpunk version of the 1950s honky-tonk anthem “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” that’s propelled by jackhammer piano and a thundering backbeat; the weird and psychedelic “Waterfall”; the Tom Petty-ish “Long Way to Go”; and the title track, which attains an almost Bruce Springsteen-esque grandeur. This is the album to listen to if you think Dwight Yoakam is “just” a country singer — he’s absolutely that, and the Bakersfield sound still pops up here and there, but there’s an astonishing diversity here, and not a single false note.

Phil Freeman

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