Yoakam, Dwight (1956—)

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Yoakam, Dwight (1956—)

In 1986, Dwight Yoakam helped revitalize country music with his twangy debut album Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. Recorded in Los Angeles, the album mixed classic country covers with Yoakam's own compositions. Born in Kentucky, Yoakam grew up in Ohio, where he attended college before moving to southern California in the late 1970s. There he met his guitarist/producer Pete Anderson and developed an electric honky-tonk style derived from the early recordings of country legend Buck Owens. Unable to break into Nashville's music scene, Yoakam found a niche playing to rock audiences in California. He recorded an EP that caught the attention of record executives and launched his career. By the early 1990s, he was creating his own unconventional country style and scoring hits with songs like "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere." During the late 1990s, Yoakam also demonstrated his acting talent in films such as Sling Blade and The Newton Boys.

—Anna Hunt Graves

Further Reading:

Bego, Mark. Country Hunks. Chicago, Contemporary Books, 1994.

Kingsbury, Paul, Alan Axelrod, and Susan Costello, editors. Country: The Music and the Musicians from the Beginnings to the '90s. New York, Abbeville Press, 1994.

McCall, Michael, Dave Hoekstra, and Janet Williams. Country Music Stars: The Legends and the New Breed. Lincolnwood, Illinois, Publications International, 1992.