Dwight Yoakam

Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor, known for his pioneering-style of country music. His popularity starting in the mid-1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than twenty albums and compilations, charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. He has recorded five Billboard #1 albums, twelve gold albums, and nine platinum albums, including the triple-platinum This Time. In addition to his many achievements in the performing arts, he is also the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.[1]

Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam 2008
Yoakam in 2008
Background information
Birth nameDwight David Yoakam
BornOctober 23, 1956 (age 62)
Pikeville, Kentucky, U.S.
OriginColumbus, Ohio, United States
GenresCountry, country rock, honky-tonk, bluegrass
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, actor, director
Instrumentsvocals, guitar
Years active1984–present
New West
Warner Bros. Nashville
Associated actsBuck Owens, Roger Miller, The Strangers

Early life

Dwight Yoakam was born on October 23, 1956, to Ruth Ann (née Tibbs), a key-punch operator, and David Yoakam, a gas-station owner.[2][3] He was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 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.[4] On May 7, 2005, Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, West Virginia, awarded and presented Yoakam with an honorary doctorate.[5]

Music career

Yoakam in 2009

When he began his career, Nashville was oriented toward pop "urban cowboy" music, and Yoakam's brand of hip honky tonk music was not considered marketable.

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.[6]

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..[7] 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.

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.

Dwight Yoakam in 2008
Yoakam performing in 2008

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 #1 on the Americana Radio chart on October 29, 2012 and went on to break the 2012 record for most weeks at #1 on Americana Radio.[8] 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.[1]

In June 2014, Rolling Stone ranked the song "Guitars, Cadillacs" #94 in their list of the 100 greatest country songs.[9]

In February 2015, Yoakam announced a new studio album, titled Second Hand Heart and released on April 14.[10] 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, titled Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..., was released in September 2016.

In 2018, Yoakam embarked on the LSD Tour with Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle.[11]

Film and television career

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. 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 2000, Yoakam co-wrote, starred in, produced and wrote the soundtrack for South of Heaven, West of Hell, also starring Vince Vaughn and Bridget Fonda.

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.[7]

Bakersfield Biscuits

Yoakam's food brand, Bakersfield Biscuits,[12] has been available at retailers such as Walmart.[13]

SiriusXM - Dwight Yoakam and the Bakersfield Beat

On April 26, 2018, SiriusXM launched a new channel: Dwight Yoakam and the Bakersfield Beat that features the music from Southern California that focuses on, and influences, the Bakersfield sound.[14]

Personal life

Yoakam is unmarried. He was in a brief relationship with Sharon Stone in the 1990s.

Awards and recognition



Studio albums

Christmas albums

Cover albums

Compilation albums

International releases

  • This Is... (1990)
  • La Croix D'Amour (1992)



Year Title Role Notes
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
2002 Panic Room Raoul
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
2006 Bandidas Tyler Jackson
2006 Crank Doc Miles
2008 Two:Thirteen Sandy
2008 Four Christmases Pastor Phil
2009 Crank: High Voltage Doc Miles
2010 Dirty Girl Joseph
2010 The Last Rites of Ransom Pride Reverend Early Pride
2010 Bloodworth Boyd Bloodworth
2015 90 Minutes in Heaven Jon
2017 Logan Lucky Warden Burns


Year Title Role Notes
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"
2011–2013 Wilfred Bruce 3 episodes
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
  1. ^ a b "Dwight Yoakam". Musicmarketingtools.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  2. ^ Country Music Magazine, May/June 1986
  3. ^ "Country Music's Yoakam Comes 'Home' For Concert". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  4. ^ The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Oxford Press Univ. Press, New York
  5. ^ "COUNTRY DOC – DWIGHT YOAKAM GETS THE THIRD DEGREE ON HIS PH.D." New York Post. 2005-09-25. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  6. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Dwight Yoakam". allmusic.com.
  7. ^ a b "A Conversation With Dwight Yoakam". www.magnetmagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  8. ^ "Dwight Yoakam's 3 Pears Is No.1 Americana Album For Fifth Week In A Row". Warner Music Nashville. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  9. ^ Menconi, David (2014-06-01). "94. Dwight Yoakam, 'Guitars, Cadillacs' (1986) Photo - 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  10. ^ "Dwight Yoakam Announces New Album". American Songwriter. February 4, 2015. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle & Dwight Yoakam Team Up for LSD Tour".
  12. ^ "Dwight Yoakam's Bakersfield Biscuits". Bakersfieldbiscuits.com. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  13. ^ "Yoakam's Biscuits Now in Wal-Mart". cmt.com. 26 August 2002.
  14. ^ "Dwight Yoakam and The Bakersfield Beat". 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ "New Album, 'Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars…" Available September 23". DwightYoakam.com. 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  16. ^ "Dwight Yoakam to Release Bluegrass Album "Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars" Including Amazon Pre-Order". SavingCountryMusic.com. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
General references
  • Himes, Geoffery. (1998). "Dwight Yoakam". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbuey, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 605–6.

External links

3 Pears

3 Pears is the 18th studio album by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It was released on September 18, 2012 via Warner Bros. Records.

The album, which includes collaborations with Beck, Kid Rock and Ashley Monroe of Pistol Annies, has been one of the most critically acclaimed recordings of Yoakam's career. 3 Pears peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 album chart, becoming Yoakam's highest position on the general music chart. By the end of 2012, 3 Pears had appeared on more critic's annual "Best Of" lists than any other album in the country music genre.

The album debuted on Billboard 200 at No. 18, and on the Top Country Albums chart at No. 3, selling 19,000 copies in its first week. As of April 2015, the album has sold 101,000 copies in the U.S.3 Pears reached No. 1 on the Americana Radio chart on October 29, 2012, and it broke the 2012 record for most weeks at No. 1 on Americana Radio.Rolling Stone named the song "A Heart Like Mine" the 39th best song of 2012. The music video was directed by Margaret Malandruccolo.

A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

"A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It was released in June 1993 as the second single from his album This Time. Like his previous single, this song peaked at number 2 in the United States and at number 3 in Canada. The song was featured in two films, Red Rock West (filmed prior to the release of This Time using a studio demo recording) and Chasers.

Blame the Vain

Blame the Vain is the 16th studio album by country music artist Dwight Yoakam, released in June 2005, and his first not to be produced by guitarist producer Pete Anderson. Yoakam wrote all the songs and produced the album himself. In addition, he directed the videos for "Intentional Heartache" and the title track himself.

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room

Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room is the third album by country singer Dwight Yoakam. The album contains Yoakam's first (and, as of 2017, only) two No. 1 Hot Country Singles singles. The first was "Streets of Bakersfield," a duet with country music veteran Buck Owens, who had originally released a version of the song in 1973. The second was an original composition of Yoakam's titled "I Sang Dixie." A third song on the album, "I Got You, also an original composition, peaked at No. 5. The title song, "Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)," also charted, but only to the No. 46 position.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury in 1979, the track is included on their 1980 album The Game, and also appears on the band's compilation album, Greatest Hits in 1981. The song peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart in 1979, and became the group's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1980, remaining there for four consecutive weeks. It topped the Australian ARIA Charts for seven weeks.Having composed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on guitar, Mercury played rhythm guitar while performing the song live, which was the first time he played guitar in concert with Queen. Queen played the song live between 1979 and 1986, and a live performance of the song is recorded in the albums Queen Rock Montreal, Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl , Live at Wembley '86 and Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest '. Since its release, the song has been covered by a number of artists. The song was played live on 20 April 1992 during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performed by Robert Plant with Queen. The style of the song was described by author Karl Coryat as rockabilly in his 1999 book titled The Bass Player Book.

Dwight Sings Buck

Dwight Sings Buck is country music artist Dwight Yoakam's 17th studio album, and a tribute album to Buck Owens. The album was released on October 23, 2007 (Yoakam's fifty-first birthday) by New West Records.

Dwight Yoakam singles discography

Dwight Yoakam is an American country music singer-songwriter. Since his debut single, "Honky Tonk Man" in 1986, he has released 46 singles, including two Billboard Hot Country Songs number one singles, as well as 4 number ones in Canada. In addition to having two number one singles in the United States, Yoakam also has thirteen Top 10 singles on the country chart.

His 1993 album This Time is his best-selling album, being certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, without having charted a number one single. The album had three consecutive number two hits, with two additional Top 30 singles. During the late-1990s and 2000s, Yoakam's radio audience had virtually disappeared. Since 2000, he has charted only one Top 40 single, "What Do You Know About Love", that reached number 26. Subsequent singles failed to reach the Top 40, or even chart at all. His last chart appearance occurred in 2005, with "Blame the Vain", which reached number 58 on the country chart.

Gone (Dwight Yoakam album)

Gone is the sixth studio album by country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It rose as far up as #5 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. It produced three singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts: "Nothing" at No. 20, "Gone (That'll Be Me)" at No. 51, and "Sorry You Asked?" at No. 59. The final single, "Heart of Stone", failed to chart in the United States. This was also the first album of his career not to produce a Top Ten country hit.

Guitars, Cadillacs

"Guitars, Cadillacs" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It was released in June 1986 as the second single and partial title track from his debut album Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.. It peaked at number 4 in the United States, and number 2 in Canada.

Hillbilly Deluxe (Dwight Yoakam album)

Hillbilly Deluxe is the second album by country music singer-songwriter, Dwight Yoakam. Released in 1987, it was Yoakam's second consecutive #1 album on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Four tracks were released as singles with each becoming Top 10 hits on the Hot Country Singles chart in 1987 and 1988.

I Got You (Dwight Yoakam song)

"I Got You" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It was released in February 1989 as the third single from his album Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room. It peaked at #5 in both the United States and Canada.

Just Lookin' for a Hit

Just Lookin' for a Hit is the first greatest hits compilation album released by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It includes eight singles from his 1980s albums for Reprise Records, as well as two newly recorded cover songs: "Long White Cadillac", originally recorded by The Blasters, and "Sin City", originally recorded by the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Nothing (Dwight Yoakam song)

"Nothing" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. It was released in October 1995 as the first single from the album Gone. The song reached #20 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song was written by Yoakam and Kostas.

Population Me

Population Me is the 13th studio album by Dwight Yoakam. It was released in June 2003 via the Audium Records label. The album spawned two singles, "The Back of Your Hand" and "The Late Great Golden State".

Streets of Bakersfield

"Streets of Bakersfield" is a 1973 song written by Homer Joy and popularized by Buck Owens. In 1988, Owens recorded a duet version with country singer Dwight Yoakam, which became one of Yoakam's first No. 1 Hot Country Singles hits.

The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam

The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam is the third greatest hits compilation album of songs recorded by country music artist Dwight Yoakam. The album comprises twenty hit singles from his career. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on July 23, 2008, and Platinum on October 28, 2016. It has sold 1,043,000 copies in the United States as of April 2017.

This Time (Dwight Yoakam album)

This Time is the fifth album by American country music artist Dwight Yoakam. Three of its tracks barely missed the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts, each peaking at No. 2: "Ain't That Lonely Yet," "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere," and "Fast as You," the latter being his last Top 10 single. Two other tracks also rose into the charts: "Try Not to Look So Pretty" at No. 14 and "Pocket of a Clown" at No. 22. The album itself peaked at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums chart. Yoakam wrote or co-wrote all except for one of the tracks on this album.

"A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" was featured as the closing credits music for the film Red Rock West, in which Yoakam also made his film acting debut. "Wild Ride" was later covered by Kenny Chesney as a duet with Joe Walsh on Chesney's 2007 album Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates.

Tomorrow's Sounds Today

Tomorrow's Sounds Today is the eleventh studio album by country music artist Dwight Yoakam. This album was released on October 31, 2000. It rose to No. 7 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. There were two charting singles among its tracks: "What Do You Know About Love" at No. 26 and "I Want You to Want Me" (a cover of the Cheap Trick song) at No. 49 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Also included are two duets with Buck Owens, who was a big influence on Yoakam's musical style. It was also Yoakam's last studio album for the Reprise label. After that album's release, Yoakam left Reprise for Warner Bros. in 2001.

Under the Covers (Dwight Yoakam album)

Under the Covers is the seventh studio album, and the first covers album recorded by Dwight Yoakam. It peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, and No. 92 on the Billboard 200. Two songs, "Here Comes the Night" and "Things We Said Today", were previously recorded for the 1992 compilation album La Croix d'Amour.

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