Album: Second Hand Heart
Artist: Dwight Yoakam
About: 10 songs; 41 Minutes
Choice: DJR Blogging
Sitting in the car while Dan belts out Dwight Yoakam tunes is a delight in my life. The odes to dudes done wrong are perfect fodder for car singing. And, while I never considered myself a Dwight Yoakum fan, I understood the appeal. When we were at the Forecastle Festival last year, my unexpected enjoyment was the Dwight Yoakum performance. The guy comes out all hat and bejeweled and he played his ever-living mind out. He also appeared to be having a whole lot of fun doing it. It isn’t hard to get onboard with that.
So, listening to Dwight over the week has been fun. This new album, Second Hand Heart is full of musical reference points – from Grand Ol’ Oprey, to Elvis, to early Rock n Roll. He honky tonks his way through the 10 songs on this album with gusto. The first song of the album, In Another World, bursts with this guitar line I discovered is called tremolo picking – a rapid picking of a couple of notes. That underlies the entirely, while three sweet electric guitar notes pierce it throughout. And on top of that is Dwight singing about lost love. Guy can’t catch a break in the love department, it seems.
The next song, She makes me hear Elvis’ Suspicious Minds every time I hear it. Elvis comes back later in the album on The Big Time where he throws in some uh-huhs that are totally Presley-esque.
It’s the third song on the album that I expect that I will be hearing on car trips. Dwight’s baby has done him wrong again, and the dreams he had have shown themselves to be Dreams of Clay. Poor Dwight will “forget about plans we had for me and you and dwell on thoughts lonely lives pursue.” I must say that a song like this, that is so honky tonk, would have been scoffed at by me a few years ago. Here is where my music taste has expanded enough to be able to enjoy this. I can even get on board with a song like Off Your Mind which sounds like Buck Owens on Hee Haw. On this one you have the hillbilly guitar line, the exaggerated backwoods drawl, and lines like “If you have dreams about someone like me, just take those pills of yours and get some sleep.” Yep, he even had me with this.
His songwriting is killer. The title song of the albums opens with the line, “She said when I trusted love I dreamed in color too.” What must the feeling be when you come up with a line like that? He turned that line into a back and forth conversation between two losers in love who are thinking about trusting that they could give love another try. It wraps up with that same line. It is standout among some really great tracks.
Naturally, Dan is a fan of this album. He is more of a student of Yoakam so he allows for his tales of love woe to be as expected, he also notes that even though the theme is the same, the freshness is something that delights even the seasoned listener.
The rockabilly song, Liar opens up with Dwight saying “we ought record this one just for kicks” and it jolts forward with sing-a-long, hand clapping, whooping, harmonica bending joy. You hear the kick they are getting.
There are two songs on the album that are not his creations. Both get fine Yoakam treatment. The first one is a blazing version of Man of Constant Sorrow that is much more Oh Brother Where Art Thou? than Joan Baez (the two versions of this song that I am familiar with). The album ends on Anthony Crawford’s V’s of Birds. This one could be a lullaby. It is a lovely sendoff for a barrel full of fun album.
As of this week, I am a Dwight Yoakam fan, and I may be warbling along with Dan in our traveling days to come.
Next Up: Steve Gunn, Way Out Weather