Dwight David Yoakam, the modern savior of the Bakersfield-style of electric country music, is actually a native of Kentucky and he's now been a staple of Hollywood productions for years.
Such a quizzical mélange makes sense, really. Give a listen to the way in which Yoakam has blended so many styles of country music into his deep and often-times under-appreciated catalog, and it's easy to hear. Hitting the scene in 1986, during what Steve Earle has famously described as the "Great Credibility Scare" of the mid 1980s, Yoakam, more than any other country star of his time, utilized the video medium to convey his message and image in inventive, humorous and artful ways. And it's something he's continued to do wonderfully, even though his chart-topping days are sadly behind him and his leather pants.
With Yoakam shaking his hips through the metroplex this weekend, we thought now would be a great time to look at the five music videos that anyone -- Yoakam fan or not -- should see in order to really appreciate what the guy has done to promote his music, style and, perhaps most important, his personality through the medium that killed the radio star.
Jump with us for a walk down memory lane.
"Thousand Miles From Nowhere" (1993)
This was Yoakam's first foray into directing his own videos -- something
he would come to do quite often with future singles. The signature
guitar lick that opens the song also would become a staple of a classic
"Streets of Bakersfield" (1988)
If someone were to ever seek visual evidence of what the "Bakersfield Sound"
actually is -- and they couldn't find any clips of early Buck Owens or Merle
Haggard -- this would serve as sufficient the proof. The first 15 seconds of music
basically defines the classic sound. Aside from this tune
shockingly being Yoakam's next-to-last No. 1 hit single, it's also
notable as Yoakam's hero and friend, Buck Owens takes a well deserved
victory lap in the fickle pool of the mainstream.
"Close Up the Honky Tonks" (2007)
When Dwight combines his effectively humorous comedic acting skills, with a tune from his dearly departed friend Buck Owens, the results are ingenious. Oh yeah, there's a hot chick in this one, too. Did we forget to mention that Fred "I Did It All For the Nookie" Durst directed this
clip? Odd, but true.
"Blame the Vain" (2005)
Another self-directed video, this is a sadly overlooked song in Yoakam's catalog (as most of the singles from the last decade are, actually). This clip has it all: Yoakam's aforementioned signature "rocking tune" vibe, hot girls, a title that's a great pun and, yes, blue
"Honky Tonk Man" (1986)
While an unremarkable clip from a production standpoint, this video
served as Yoakam's introduction in the public consciousness, and it would
present the public with a few Dwight-specific trademarks that would
become synonymous with him over the years. The swivel hip action (which,
as with Elvis decades earlier, managed to stir up some controversy for a
short while), the tighter-than-tight jeans, the hair that couldn't be
tamed by a mere cowboy hat and, of course, his ability to take the sounds
of country music's past and make them Top 40 relevant in the present.
Dwight Yoakam performs on Saturday, July 9, at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie