Dwight Yoakam's Music Is Unclassifiable, Uncompromising, and Unforgettable
The headliners at each year's McDowell Mountain Music Festival have always been a little hard to classify or pigeonhole into a certain genre, much like the annual three-day event itself. Ditto for singer/songwriter Dwight Yoakam, who ostensibly can be classified as country-rock, but doesn't easily fit easily into either category.
dwightyoakam.com Dwight Yoakam is scheduled to perform on Sunday, March 30, during McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2014 at Margaret T. Hance Park.
Such has been the case for most of his career. When Yoakam started out in the mid-eighties, he faced something of an uphill battle. He was considered too country for Nashville (which was starting to move Alabama and The Oak Ridge Boys out of the way to make room for more pop-oriented county), and his music -- steeped in blues, Bakersfield, and the British Invasion -- made him too rock for country fans.
The singing/songwriting crooner is one of those artists who is a genre unto himself and doesn't make compromises, which he explained in an interview with the British music website MusicRadar.com last year.
"I've been able to sustain a substantial livelihood without ever being asked to compromise. Nobody has ever forced me to do that. I wouldn't know how, anyway," Yoakam says. "Thinking about other artists who never went along -- be it Neil Young or your example, Johnny Cash -- they really sustained a pertinence to their own inner voices."
If you think Yoakam has changed his mind on compromise in his later years, you would be sorely mistaken. His latest album, 3 Pears," defies categorization. The title of the 2012 record is taken from a scene in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and it's Yoakam's second without the help of his longtime collaborative partner, musician and producer Pete Anderson.