Fans of Dwight Yoakam's early-Eighties work will be thrilled by this album showing him getting back to basics. After years of experimentation, Yoakam delivers a disc with a sound and feel similar to early albums like "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc." Yoakam hit country hard in the early Eighties with a mix of keening vocals, hillbilly riffs and juke-joint musings that had more to do with Bakersfield than Nashville. As the years wore on, he upped the ante, concocting such sterling albums as "This Time" and "Gone," with stylings so retro they sounded cutting-edge.
Listeners will find little of the daring touches here - and, thankfully, none of the Las Vegas-style schmaltz that maligned his last effort, "Under The Covers." Along with producer Pete Anderson, Yoakam offers "Same Fool," a stutter-stop steel-guitar opener exploring the politics of breaking up; "I'll Just Take These," a beautiful weeper; and "Traveler's Lantern," a pretty lament featuring bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. Still, Yoakam has mined this territory before. It's not an insult to say some songs, such as "I Wouldn't Put It Past Me," sound similar to what's coming out of Nashville today - it has taken Music City this long to catch up. This isn't Yoakam's most innovative work, but it contains enough moments to make it worth attention.