Monday, 18 May 2015

Dwight Yoakam - Second Hand Heart, album review

Thought, But Mainly Romp

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix. Dwight Yoakam has fashioned a distinct Country sound over the years of fine songwriting, fine covers and fine singing. The template is - as with opener In Another World on this latest - fast-paced guitar and drums, twang and that vocal that works the near-yodel to perfection. There’s even an echo of Beach Boys harmony on this upbeat start. Second She sustains the pace, a tinge [I kid you not] of The Rolling Stones in the rhythmic beat, and great harmonies across the melody.

Third is the sweet drawled ballad Dreams of Clay [originally from his 2000 album Tomorrow's Sounds Today] that apes Presley’s Suspicious Minds in the opening chords and continues its plaintive tone in the descending lines, some pedal steel and the slowed pace of guitar-plucked twang. Fifth Off Your Mind is as old-school as a ten-gallon hat, and then sixth Believe swoons in with its anthemic 80s sound latched to the C&W roots.

There’s a rollicking version of Man of Constant Sorrow, Liar countryfies a Presley-esque That’s All Right-sounding tune with more Bakersfield spunk, penultimate The Big Time sustains this rousing close with its Country blues – hollers-n-all – and the album concludes on Anthony Crawford’s V’s of Birds, another ballad that provides an unusual counter to the rockabilly sass that precedes, a rumination that Yoakam clearly wants to cover and make, and perhaps just reminds there is thoughtfulness behind the romping,

Listen, listen
I hear ’em teaching
And it’s something I want to learn
Even fallen angels need shelter from the harm
When the winter winds have turned so cold
Tell me, tell me
Did you see it
Was it shining in the sky
Giving answers
Within the wisdom
Leaving space between the truth and lies

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