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Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, known for his pioneering style of country music. First becoming popular in the mid-1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 30 million records. He has recorded five Billboard No. 1 albums, twelve gold albums, and nine platinum albums, including the triple-platinum This Time.
Dwight Yoakam performing at the San Diego County Fair in June 2008
|Birth name||Dwight David Yoakam|
|Born||October 23, 1956|
Pikeville, Kentucky, US
|Origin||Columbus, Ohio, US|
|Genres||Country, country rock, honky-tonk, bluegrass|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, musician, actor, director|
|Associated acts||Buck Owens, Roger Miller, The Strangers|
Dwight Yoakam was born on October 23, 1956, to Ruth Ann (née Tibbs), a key-punch operator, and David Yoakam, a gas-station owner. He was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, US, but was raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he graduated from Northland High School in 1974. During his high school years, he took part in both the music and drama programs, having been cast in lead roles for the school's plays, including "Charlie" in Flowers for Algernon. Outside of school, Yoakam sang and played guitar with local garage bands.
He briefly attended Ohio State University, but dropped out and moved to Los Angeles in 1977 with the intent of becoming a recording artist. On May 7, 2005, Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, West Virginia, awarded and presented Yoakam with an honorary doctorate.
Not making much headway in Nashville, Yoakam moved to Los Angeles and worked towards bringing his particular brand of new honky tonk or "hillbilly" music (as he called it) forward into the 1980s. Writing all his own songs, and continuing to perform mostly outside traditional country music channels, he did many shows in rock and punk rock clubs around Los Angeles, playing with roots rock or punk rock acts like The Blasters (Yoakam scored a small video hit with his version of their song "Long White Cadillac"), Los Lobos, and X. This helped him diversify his audience beyond the typical country music fans, and his authentic, honky-tonk revivalism brought rock audiences closer to country music.
Yoakam's recording debut was the self-financed EP Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. on independent label Oak Records produced by lead-guitarist Pete Anderson; this was later re-released by Reprise Records, with several additional tracks, as his major-label debut LP, 1986's Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.. The record hit the market during a sea change in country music: the urban cowboy music was out of style, and neotraditional music based on classic styles, such as Yoakam's honky-tonk inspired music, was now in demand. The LP was a breakout hit and spawned his first two hit singles: "Honky Tonk Man", a remake of the Johnny Horton song, and the title track "Guitars, Cadillacs." His stylish video "Honky Tonk Man" was the first country music video ever played on MTV. The follow-up LP, Hillbilly Deluxe, was just as successful. His third LP, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room, included his first No. 1, a duet with his musical idol, Buck Owens, on "Streets of Bakersfield". 1990's If There Was a Way was another best-seller. Selling over 2 million copies and being awarded double platinum status in the US along with producing five top 50 singles.
Yoakam's song "Readin', Rightin', Route 23" pays tribute to his childhood move from Kentucky, and is named after a local expression describing the route that rural Kentuckians took to find a job outside of the coal mines. (U.S. Route 23 runs north from Kentucky through Columbus and Toledo, Ohio and through the automotive centers of Michigan.) Rather than the standard line that their elementary schools taught "the three Rs" of "Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic", Kentuckians used to say that the three Rs they learned were "Readin', 'Ritin', and Route 23 North".
Johnny Cash once cited Yoakam as his favorite country singer. Chris Isaak called him as good a songwriter as ever put a pen to paper. Time dubbed him "A Renaissance Man" and Vanity Fair declared that "Yoakam strides the divide between rock's lust and country's lament." Along with his bluegrass and honky-tonk roots, he has written or covered many Elvis Presley-style rockabilly songs, including his covers of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in 1999 and Presley's "Suspicious Minds" in 1992. He recorded a cover of The Clash's "Train in Vain" in 1997, a cover of the Grateful Dead song "Truckin'", as well as Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me". He has never been associated only with country music; on many early tours, he played with hardcore punk bands like Hüsker Dü, and played many shows around Los Angeles with roots/punk/rock & roll acts. His middle-period-to-later records saw him branching out to different styles, covering rock & roll, punk, 1960's, blues-based "boogie" like ZZ Top, and writing more adventurous songs like "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere". In 2003, he provided background vocals on Warren Zevon's last album The Wind.
In 2000, Yoakam released dwightyoakamacoustic.net, an album featuring solo acoustic versions of many of his hits.
2005 saw the release of Yoakam's well-reviewed album Blame the Vain, on New West Records. He also released an album dedicated to Buck Owens, Dwight Sings Buck, on October 23, 2007. His duet with Michelle Branch, a song titled "Long Goodbye", was released as a free download on her official website in early 2011.
In July 2011, Yoakam re-signed with Warner Bros. Nashville and announced plans to release a new album. 3 Pears was released on September 18, 2012 with twelve new tracks. Produced by him, it includes a collaboration with Beck. 3 Pears was released to resounding critical acclaim and earned him the highest-charting debut of his career on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Country Albums charts. 3 Pears reached No. 1 on the Americana Radio chart on October 29, 2012 and went on to break the 2012 record for most weeks at No. 1 on Americana Radio. By the end of 2012, it was named on annual best of lists by NPR, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, AOL's The Boot, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, and Rhapsody, and has been included in more critics' "best of 2012" lists than any other artist in the country genre.
In February 2015, Yoakam announced a new studio album, titled Second Hand Heart and released on April 14. In 2016, he supported the album by performing at the C2C: Country to Country festival in Europe. He performed at the Americana Music Honors & Awards, announcing that he was working on a new album of all bluegrass songs. The album, Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..., was released in September 2016.
Film and television careerEdit
Yoakam has also starred in many films, most notably as the ill-tempered, abusive live-in boyfriend in Sling Blade (1996), as a psychopathic killer in Panic Room (2002), as a police detective in The Minus Man (1999) and as the sheriff in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005). He appeared in a supporting role as Doc Miles, the doctor for Chev Chelios, in Crank (2006) and its sequel, Crank: High Voltage (2009). In addition, he guest starred in the King of the Hill episode "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men" as Lane Pratley. The episode also featured his frequent collaborator Billy Bob Thorton.
He also had a cameo appearance in the 2005 comedy movie Wedding Crashers. In 2006, he starred alongside Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek in Bandidas; in 2008, he played Pastor Phil in Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon; and he appears in Dirty Girl (2010). He also appeared in The Last Rites of Ransom Pride, an independent 2010 Western that also stars fellow country singer Kris Kristofferson. He played a truck driver in the Wyoming crime thriller, Red Rock West (1993). He also played Brentwood Glasscock in The Newton Boys (1998). In Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), his song "Guitars, Cadillacs" is playing in the background of the opening bar scene, also plays a prison warden in the 2019 film Logan Lucky.
Some of his songs are included in the film Big Eden (2000).
Yoakam was featured in a recurring role as Bruce on the FX series Wilfred but was replaced by William Baldwin in the show's fourth and final season. He also appears in the second season of Under the Dome as Lyle Chumley, who runs the Chester's Mill's barbershop. In 2016 Yoakam appeared in a supporting role on the Amazon original show Goliath which stars Billy Bob Thornton.
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Yoakam began dating photographer Emily Joyce in late 2010. They became engaged in 2011 and married in a small ceremony in Santa Monica, California, in March 2020. Their son, Dalton Loren Yoakam, was born on August 16, 2020.
Awards and recognitionEdit
- Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Male Vocalist – 1986
- CMT Europe Artist of the Year Award – 1993
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – 1994 "Ain't That Lonely Yet"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals – 1999 Same Old Train shared with multiple artists
- Country Music Association Award for International Touring Artist (2007)
- Academy of Country Music Cliffe Stone Pioneer Award – 2011
- Americana Music Award for Artist of the Year – 2013
- Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame – 2019
- Academy of Country Music Award for Album of the Year – (1986) Guitars, Cadillacs
- Country Music Association Horizon Award – 1986
- Country Music Association Award for Video of the Year – (1986) "Honky Tonk Man"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Song −1987 "Guitars, Cadillacs"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Video of the Year – (1987) "Little Sister"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – 1987 "Guitars, Cadillacs"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – 1988 Hillbilly Deluxe
- Academy of Country Music Award for Top Vocal Duet – 1988 with Buck Owens for "Streets of Bakersfield"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Top Male Vocalist – 1988
- Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year – 1988 with Buck Owens for "Streets of Bakersfield"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Album of the Year – 1998 Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration – 1989 with Buck Owens for "Streets of Bakersfield"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – 1989 Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration – 1990 with K.d. Lang for Sin City
- Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – 1991 "Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Top Vocal Duet – 1992 with Patty Loveless for "Send a Message to My Heart"
- Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year – 1992 with James McMurty, John Prine, Joe Ely and John Mellencamp for "Buzzin' Cousins"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Single Record of the Year – 1993 "Ain't That Lonely Yet"
- Country Music Association Award for Single of the Year – 1993 "Ain't That Lonely Yet"
- Academy of Country Music Award for Album of the Year – 1994 This Time
- Country Music Association Award for Male Vocalist of the Year – 1994
- Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals – 1994 with Ralph Stanley for "Miner's Prayer"
- Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance – 1995 "Pocket of a Clown"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Album – 1996 Dwight Live
- Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance – 1996 "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Album – 1997 Gone
- Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance – 1997 "Nothing"
- Grammy Award for Best Country Album – 1998 Under the Covers
- Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Event of the Year – 1998 with various artists for "Same Old Train"
- Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year – 1998 with various artists for "Same Old Train"
- Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance – 2000 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
- Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance – 2001 "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere"
- Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year – 2001 with Buck Owens for "Alright, I'm Wrong"[full citation needed]
- Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (1986)
- Hillbilly Deluxe (1987)
- Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room (1988)
- If There Was a Way (1990)
- This Time (1993)
- Gone (1995)
- A Long Way Home (1998)
- dwightyoakamacoustic.net (2000)
- Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000)
- South of Heaven, West of Hell (Soundtrack) (2001)
- Population Me (2003)
- Blame the Vain (2005)
- 3 Pears (2012)
- Second Hand Heart (2015)
- Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars (2016)
- Come On Christmas (1997)
- Under the Covers (1997)
- In Others' Words (2003)
- Dwight's Used Records (2004)
- Dwight Sings Buck (2007)
- Just Lookin' for a Hit (1989)
- Dwight Live (1995)
- Last Chance for a Thousand Years (1999)
- Reprise Please Baby (2002) 4CD
- The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam (2004)
- Live From Austin Texas (Recorded in 1988) (2005) CD+DVD
- 21st Century Hits: Best of 2000–2012 (2013) CD+DVD
- This Is... (1990)
- La Croix D'Amour (1992)
|1992||Red Rock West||Truck Driver|
|1995||The Little Death||Bobby Lomax|
|1996||Sling Blade||Doyle Hargraves||Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1997||Painted Hero||Virgil Kidder|
|1998||The Newton Boys||Brentwood Glasscock|
|1999||The Minus Man||Blair|
|2001||South of Heaven, West of Hell||Valentine Casey||Also director and writer|
|2003||Hollywood Homicide||Leroy Wasley|
|2004||Three Way||Herbert Claremont/Clarkson|
|2005||Wedding Crashers||Mr. Kroeger|
|2005||The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada||Sheriff Belmont|
|2008||Four Christmases||Pastor Phil|
|2009||Crank: High Voltage||Doc Miles|
|2010||The Last Rites of Ransom Pride||Reverend Early Pride|
|2015||90 Minutes in Heaven||Jon|
|2017||Logan Lucky||Warden Burns|
|1986||Hee Haw||Himself||Episode: "18.7"|
|1991||P.S. I Luv U||Harlan Justice||Episode: "I'd Kill to Direct"|
|1993||Rhythm & Jam||Himself||Television movie|
|1994||Roswell||Mac Brazel||Television movie|
|1996||Don't Look Back||Skipper||Television movie|
|1997||Ellen||The Bag Boy||Episode: "The Puppy Episode – Part 2"|
|1998||King of the Hill||Lane Pratley||Episode: "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men"|
|1998||When Trumpets Fade||George Rickman||Television movie|
|2002||Dinner for Five||Himself||Episode: "1.8"|
|2013||To Appomattox||George Meade||7 episodes|
|2014||Under the Dome||Lyle Chumley||7 episodes|
|2016||Drunk History||Jesse Benton||Episode: "Bar Fights"|
|2016||Goliath||Wendell Corey||7 episodes|
- Specific references
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). "Dwight Yoakam". The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1285. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
- "Dwight Yoakam". musicmarketingtools.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- "[Article]". Country Music Magazine. May–June 1986.
- "Country Music's Yoakam Comes 'Home' For Concert". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- "Dwight Yoakam". The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford Press Univ. Press. 2012.
- "Country Doc – Dwight Yoakam Gets the Third Degree on His Ph.D." New York Post. September 25, 2005. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Dwight Yoakam". AllMusic.
- "A Conversation With Dwight Yoakam". magnetmagazine.com. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- "Dwight Yoakam's 3 Pears Is No.1 Americana Album For Fifth Week in a Row". warnermusicnashville.com. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Menconi, David (June 1, 2014). "94. Dwight Yoakam, 'Guitars, Cadillacs' (1986) Photo – 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- "Dwight Yoakam Announces New Album". American Songwriter. February 4, 2015. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle & Dwight Yoakam Team Up for LSD Tour". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Dwight Yoakam's Bakersfield Biscuits". Bakersfieldbiscuits.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- "Yoakam's Biscuits Now in Wal-Mart". CMT.com. Country Music Television. August 26, 2002.
- "Dwight Yoakam and The Bakersfield Beat". April 26, 2018.
- Smyers, Darryl (April 13, 2006). "Hokum or Yoakam?". Dallas Observer. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "Dwight Yoakam on Instagram: "Like the lyric from the song Waterfall that Dwight wrote for Emily on his 3 Pears album says... Babies get born even in a... Pandemic lock…"". Instagram. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
- "Dr. John, Emmylou Harris & Dwight Yoakam Wins at 2013 Americana Music Awards". Top40-Charts.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Dwight Yoakam". Grammy.com. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. June 4, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Past Winners And Nominees". CMAawards.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Winners". ACMcountry.com. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "New Album, 'Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars…" Available September 23". DwightYoakam.com. February 16, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- "Dwight Yoakam to Release Bluegrass Album "Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars" Including Amazon Pre-Order". SavingCountryMusic.com. August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- General references
- Himes, Geoffery. (1998). "Dwight Yoakam". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbuey, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 605–6.
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