Dwight Sings Buck album cover
Dwight Sings Buck

Dwight Yoakam

New West Records

Buck Owens was a major influence on Dwight Yoakam; his first #1 single, “Streets of Bakersfield,” was a duet with Owens, remaking one of the older man’s early ’70s non-hits. After Owens died in 2006, Yoakam recorded 15 of his classic songs for this album, including versions of “Act Naturally,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Crying Time,” “Down On the Corner of Love” and more. For the most part, the arrangements are straightforward, hard-edged honky-tonk, with Yoakam’s longtime guitarist, Eddie Perez, delivering stinging if economical leads. Yoakam often likes to get a little weird, though, and that impulse is indulged on a percussion-heavy version of “Close Up the Honky Tonks” (written by Red Simpson) that lasts more than six minutes, as well as a version of “Only You (Can Break My Heart)” that begins with Yoakam singing over a mournful organ drone. This is a brilliant album that will appeal to anyone who loves great country songwriting, whether they’re familiar with Buck Owens going in or not.

Phil Freeman

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