Dwight Yoakam

Artist Playlists

Live Albums

About Dwight Yoakam

When we talk about honky-tonk at the end of the 20th century, what we’re really talking about is the unmistakable sound of Dwight Yoakam. Born in 1956 in the small town of Pikeville, Kentucky, Yoakam stands apart in country circles thanks to the distinctive twang in his voice, his mastery of the Bakersfield sound (an amalgamation of hillbilly music and old-time rock ‘n’ roll born in dim and dusty bars), and his award-nominated acting chops. While Yoakam has always dabbled in traditionalism—his first big singles, 1986’s “Honky Tonk Man” and “Guitars, Cadillacs” sound like timeless classics—he’s always remained just outside whatever Nashville’s been up to, following his artistic vision as opposed to playing by radio rules. (The hip-swiveling groove of 1987’s “Little Sister,” for example, is a major contrast from the gentle love songs and pop on the charts that year.) Still, 1986’s Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and 1987’s Hillbilly Deluxe established Yoakam as a platinum-tier artist, and he nabbed his first No. 1 in 1988 with “Streets of Bakersfield,” an accordion-tinged jaunt with fellow icon Buck Owens. Through orchestral turns (1993’s “Ain’t That Lonely Yet”), classic pop melodies (2005’s “Blame the Vain”), and rockabilly rave-ups (his 1999 cover of Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”), the nasally twang makes all of it inescapably Yoakam.

Pikeville, KY, United States of America
October 23, 1956