Dwight Yoakam

Striking it big in the 1980s and 1990s, Dwight Yoakam is the country star who broke the mould, defying the conventions of Nashville to win initial acceptance and popularity from non-country audiences. The son of a gas station owner, Yoakam was raised in Columbus, Ohio and proved himself a born entertainer, excelling in both music and drama. Dropping out of college to seek his fortune in Nashville his modernised hillbilly approach didn't find favour in the country capital and he moved instead to Los Angeles and initially made his mark outside the traditional country market playing in punk clubs with rock acts like The Blasters, Los Lobos and X. His first recording was the self-financed EP Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc, which proved so popular it was picked up by major label Reprise and reissued as a full-length album in 1986. It resulted in a hit single with a cover of Johnny Horton's Honky Tonk Man and the first video of a country song played on MTV. Follow-up albums Hillbilly Deluxe and Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room were equally successful and he had a Number 1 hit single duetting with his idol Buck Owens on Streets Of Bakersfield. Never hide-bound by expectation, Yoakam played rockabilly alongside bluegrass and covered tracks as varied as (Queen's) Crazy Little Thing Called Love, (Presley's) Suspicious Minds and (The Clash's) Train In Vain while happily sharing a stage with hardcore rock acts like Husker Du. He abandoned the mainstream industry altogether to self-release his 2005 album Blame The Vain and then made an album of Buck Owens songs. In 2012 he collaborated with Kid Rock and Beck on the album 3 Pears.

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