live’n’loud: Country king Dwight Yoakam ....................
T’S been six years since US country music legend Dwight Yoakam toured Australia and for fans of the man once cited by Johnny Cash as the man in black’s favourite country music artist, the wait has been too long.
Yoakam, 55, personifies country music. He has the twang and the look but it’s his music that sets him apart.
It’s a unique blend of west coast US honky tonk in the finest traditions of his late great friend Buck Owen, coupled with plenty of emotion and genuine passion for the genre.
The last time Yoakam was in Australia, he was on his Blame The Vain tour. This time, his tour coincides with the release of his latest album, 3 Pears, his 13th studio album and first since his 2007 tribute album Dwight Sings Buck.
‘‘This album, 3 Pears, was recorded live and the sound is just like our shows,’’ Yoakam says.
‘‘This album marks a return to Warner Music, so in some ways it represents me coming full circle after starting with them.’’
Yoakam, who plays the Riverstage in Brisbane this weekend with homegrown country star Lee Kernaghan, says he is looking forward to bringing his catalogue of songs back to his Australian fans.
‘‘I love Australia. The fans are so passionate about the music and it’s a gift to be able to play our music for them to enjoy,’’ Yoakam says.
With each new tour and album, the list of songs in Yoakam’s arsenal continues to grow, presenting some interesting challenges. ‘‘We have a set or playlist mapped out before each show but that can vary and there’s nothing better than venturing off the beaten path and playing it by ear,’’ Yoakam says.
‘‘There are songs which the fans want, and you have to respect that, and we try to play some of the hits. But we also enjoy just letting things roll and seeing what happens as well. It makes the show interesting for both us and the fans.’’
Yoakam has recorded more than 21 albums and compilations, sold more than 25 million records and released more than 40 singles, including Honky Tonk Man, Guitars, Cadillacs, I Got You, I Sang Dixie and Please, Please Baby.
Of course, there’s also another side to him – as an actor. Yoakam has appeared in Sling Blade, Panic Room, Four Christmases, Dirty Girl and most recently, The Last Rites of Ranson Pride.
The roles have had an impact on his recording career but Yoakam is back now, with a stellar album that has returned him to the musical spotlight.
And that’s exactly where he’ll be in Brisbane this weekend, delivering a brand of country that has earned him the respect of some of the biggest names in country music.
For diehard country music fans, the show will be a unique opportunity to see an icon in action – one no ‘‘fair dinkum’’ country music fan should miss.
Dwight Yoakam and Lee Kernaghan play The Riverstage, Brisbane, on Saturday. Gates open 6pm
Grammywinning singer and songwriter Dwight Yoakam.