Dwight Yoakam Bio.
With his stripped-down move toward to traditional honky tonk and Bakersfield country, Dwight Yoakam helped return country music to its roots in the late '80s. Like his idols
Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams, Yoakam never played by Nashville's rules; as a result, he never dominated the charts like his current Randy Travis. Then again, Travis never played around with the sound and style of country music like Yoakam. On each of his records, he twists around the form adequate to make it seem like he doesn't respect all of country's society. Appropriately, his core audience was composed mainly of roots rock and rock & roll fans, not the conventional country audience. Nevertheless, he was commonly able to chart in the country Top Ten, and he remained one of the most valued and adventurous recording country artists well into the '90s.
Born in Kentucky but raised in Ohio, Yoakam learned how to play guitar at the age of six. As a child, he listened to his mother's record collection, honing in on the customary country of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, as well as the Bakersfield honky tonk of Buck Owens. When he was in high school, Yoakam played with a diversity of bands, playing everything from country to rock & roll. After finishing high school, Yoakam briefly attended Ohio State University, but he dropped out and stirred to Nashville in the late '70s with the intent of fetching a recording artist.
At the time he moved to Nashville, the town was in the throes of the pop-oriented urban cowboy association and had no interest in his updated honky tonk. While in Nashville, he met guitarist Pete Anderson, who shared a similar taste in music. The pair moved out to Los Angeles, where they found a more grateful audience than they did in Nashville. In L.A., Yoakam and Anderson didn't just play country clubs, they played the same nightclubs that punk and post-punk rock bands like X, the Dead Kennedys, Los Lobos, the Blasters, and the Butthole Surfers did. What Yoakam had in general with rock bands like X, the Blasters, and Los Angeles was similar musical influences; they all drew from '50s rock & roll and country. In comparison to the polished music coming out of Nashville, Yoakam's stripped-down, direct revivalism seemed radical. The cowpunks, as they were called, that attended Yoakam's shows provided an invaluable support for his fledgling career.
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