Black Music Matters Festival

Dwight Yoakam

Dwight's Used Records – 2004 (Koch)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

These 14 tracks, pulled from tribute albums and appearances on other artists' albums, display the breadth of Dwight Yoakam's work with a conciseness his own albums never could. To be fair, Yoakam's releases were more purposed efforts, and this collection, drawn from across a decade of recording, has a broader charter. It's astounding to hear just how easily Yoakam fits into mountain bluegrass, honky-tonk, smooth adult contemporary pop and earthy blues-inspired country-rock.

Yoakam provides the ballast for Ralph Stanley's high-and-lonely on the latter's "Down Where the River Bends," and Stanley returns the favor by taking Yoakam's "Miner's Prayer" into the hills from which it was dug. Yoakam's honky-tonk heroes are recognized with covers of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Webb Pierce and duets with Gail Davies, Deana Carter and Heather Myles show how beautifully his voice can accompany and blend.

This aggregation of sources (ranging from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's, "Circle, Vol. 3" to a ZZ Top tribute album) is a Yoakam fan's dream. Throw in previously unreleased covers of Little Eva's "Loco-Motion" and two versions of John Prine's "Paradise," and you've built a must-have collection.