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Dwight Yoakam
 
 
 
 
   
 
     
   
 
DWIGHT YOAKAM

"Dwight Sings Buck"

Irish Release October 19 on New West Records

www.dwightyoakam.com

"After his death, it was the clearest way I could express my love for him and acknowledge the depth of our friendship"-- Dwight Yoakam on why he chose to record an album of Buck Owens songs

Multiple Grammy® Award winner and entertainer Dwight Yoakam is set to release Dwight Sings Buck, a one-of-a-kind new album honoring the legendary Buck Owens, out on October 19, 2007, as both a CD and a Limited Edition 180 gram vinyl record, from New West Records. “After his death, it was the clearest way I could express my love for him and acknowledge the depth of our friendship” said Yoakam on why he chose to record an album of Buck Owens songs. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the album will be donated by Dwight Yoakam and New West Records to the “Buck Owens American Music Foundation” a charity devoted to the preservation of the Bakersfield sound and the Buck Owens legacy. The emotional “Close Up The Honky Tonks,” will be released as the album’s first single.

Dwight and Buck’s profound initial musical connection turned into a life-long friendship. Yoakam demonstrates the enormous amount of love and respect he had for his friend with this special album honoring Owens’ legacy and showcasing his many hits. The Bakersfield sound was developed in Bakersfield and throughout California in the 1950s and 60s by the likes of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. Bakersfield country was an alternative to the Nashville country sound of the late 1950s. It was a sound that added electric instruments and other stylistic elements, borrowed from rock and roll. Buck Owens was one of the first to bring this Bakersfield sound to mainstream audiences and his music also influenced later country stars. Yoakam pays tribute to this amazing artist and his music with Dwight Sings Buck , a fifteen track collection of many of Owens’ most memorable singles including 11 top five hits, eight of which reached #1 on the country charts; “Act Naturally,” “My Heart Skips A Beat,” “I Don’t Care (Just as Long as You Love Me),” “Only You (Can Break My Heart),” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Your Tender Loving Care,” “Think of Me,” and “Together Again.”

Hailed as a “Renaissance Man” by Time Magazine, this Kentucky native, who was raised in Ohio, migrated to Los Angeles and blazed out of the LA club scene in 1986. Yoakam shared stages with LA roots-rock acts such as X, Lone Justice, the Blasters and Los Lobos. Beginning by revitalizing the Buck Owens/Bakersfield sound for a new generation, Yoakam would later push the envelope of the country music genre and transcend its parameters by experimenting with big band, American and British pop elements. Yoakam fashioned memorable hits ranging from “Ain’t That Lonely Yet,” “Fast As You,” “I Sang Dixie,” “Thousand Miles From Nowhere,” “Little Sister” and “Guitars, Cadillacs.” With the success of the albums Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc, Hillbilly Deluxe and Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room, he was soon considered the hottest young country star in ages. In the ‘90s he reached a commercial apex with the multi-platinum-sellers If There Was A Way and This Time. To date Yoakam has 17 Top 10 country hits and has sold more than 23 million albums worldwide. Since his 1993 film debut opposite Nicholas Cage in Red Rock West, he has worked steadily in movies and television with exceptional performances in Sling Blade, The Minus Man, Panic Room, and Crank. In 2000 he also directed, wrote and starred in a film of his own South of Heaven, West of Hell.

Dwight Sings Buck Track Listing:

1. My Heart Skips A Beat
2. Foolin’ Around
3. I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)
4. Only You
5. Act Naturally
6. Down On The Corner Of Love
7. Cryin’ Time
8. Above And Beyond
9. Love’s Gonna Live Here
10. Close Up The Honky Tonks
11. Under Your Spell Again
12. Your Tender Loving Care
13. Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got A Heartache)
14. Think Of Me
15. Together Again

On March 25, 2006, when Dwight Yoakam got the awful news that his close friend Buck Owens had passed away, it was a shock. Only four days earlier, the honky-tonk compadres had spent four hours on the phone catching up while Yoakam was amid a 17-month world tour. “Buck was just full of life,” Yoakam remembers. “We’d known each other since 1987, and somebody had asked him about me, and he said, ‘People think we have dinner together every night.’ And I said, ‘I know, they act like we’re just down the block from one another,’ and he said, ‘Well, it always will be like that, Dwight.’ Ours was a friendship that was a combination of parent, sibling and peer...”

Immediately, Yoakam and his band, who’d been playing Dwight and Buck’s 1988 charttopping duet “The Streets of Bakersfield” as an encore, added several Owens classics to the set. “It became part of our musical embrace with the audience every night,” says Yoakam. “It was almost as if they let me have a moment with him every night – like we were able to take him on tour with us.” By the fall of ‘06, he and his label New West Records, which released 2005’s critically acclaimed Blame the Vain, agreed that Yoakam’s next album would honor the architect of the Bakersfield Sound. Dwight Sings Buck reprises and reimagines fifteen of Buck Owens’ greatest, including 11 top five hits, eight of which reached #1 on the country charts, spanning 1956 to 1967, with stunning results.

Excluding their hit duet, which had initiated Buck’s return to music after a lengthy hiatus, Yoakam had never cut an Owens song. “As much as anything in my life, I’m happy to have encouraged him to want to play music again,” Yoakam explains. “That’s why I’d never, ever considered cutting a Buck song. Buck was still doing them and had recorded them wonderfully. I never, ever thought that I would re-record Buck’s music and certainly never as an album that I did alone. But then I realized, it wasn’t unlike the solo tribute album that Buck did for Tommy Collins, or Merle for Lefty Frizzell. After his death, it was the clearest way I could express my love for him and acknowledge the depth of our friendship".

That friendship originally blossomed in 1987, when Dwight, who’d been name-checking Buck since his 1986 breakthrough, got Owens onstage with him and urged him to play music again. Since his collaborator Don Rich’s tragic death in a 1974 motorcycle accident, Owens had “suffered such a long period of being depressed and confused and hurt,” he later said, that he “just went through the paces,” eventually retiring from music-making. In Yoakam, Buck found the raison d’etre that had been missing for so long: In addition to hitting the charts again, Owens also returned to recording his own albums and opened the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, where he performed nearly every weekend – including the night he died.

Just as Buck did before him, Yoakam took his road band – guitarist Eddie Perez, pedal steel player Josh Grange, bassist Kevin Smith, and drummer Mitch Marine – into the studio to cut Owens’ songs, shortly after his 250-date tour’s end. “That band at that moment” was the perfect vehicle for recording, says Yoakam, who immediately began four days of rehearsals for the album rather than recuperate from their arduous trek around the world. “During the last three months of the tour, those four musicians made it a point to study the originals,” according to Yoakam. “It really became their obsession. Eddie Perez is a huge, huge fan of not only Buck’s but of [guitarist] Don Rich, so Eddie’s paying tribute to Don on every note he plays. And Josh Grange made it almost like a graduate-level thesis to study the pedal steel on Buck’s records.”

As Yoakam worked out the arrangements, he found himself reinventing some of Buck’s best-known songs: “Only You (Can Break My Heart)” kicks off with a Hammond B3 organ, and “Think Of Me” “turned out to be a whole different approach than Buck’s calypso thing,” says Yoakam. A slowed-down “Close Up the Honky-Tonks,” which will be released as the album’s first single, employs outstanding percussion, courtesy of former Motown session player Bobby Hall. “She played great,” says Yoakam of Hall, who also contributed to Blame The Vain. “I wonder what Buck would think of the congas and all that tambourine, the maracas and shakers? I hope he would be proud of this.” A spine-tingling departure from the original is Yoakam’s take on Buck’s legendary composition “Together Again.” Backed primarily by Skip Edwards’ acoustic piano and Perez’ tremolo guitar, Yoakam delivers perhaps his most soulful vocal ever on this transcendent, gospel-style version. “I reared back and let go, singing a new melody,” Yoakam relates. “After the take, I walked in and listened, and I said, ‘Well, we’re leaving Planet Earth here with Buck and we’re going somewhere else – but maybe that’s not a bad thing.’ That song actually ambushed me. It’s the last thing on the album and was the last thing I sang – which I took some liberties with. I hope Buck’s fans will allow me that loving liberty.” Surely, Owens would have approved – he told one journalist in 1994 that “Dwight is a rebel, an individualist, and I like that about him.”

On other Owens hits, including “Act Naturally,” “Cryin’ Time,” “Under Your Spell Again,” and “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” Yoakam sounds as if he’s channeling Buck, with Perez’s Telecaster and harmony vocals tapping into the essence of Don Rich. Throughout, Yoakam and company make the songs their own, however, with a nod to the guitar interplay of the Beatles (who were also avowed fans of Buck) on “I Don’t Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)” and Mitch Marine’s drum flams emphasizing the pauses on “Foolin’ Around.” “Buck’s music just makes everybody smile,” says Yoakam of that tune, one of the fifteen he picked “based on the emotion of the song. The emotional connection to the music never left Buck Owens.”

Looking back on the making of Dwight Sings Buck, Yoakam asserts, “I never could have anticipated what a journey this album would become for the band and myself. We thought we could just rehearse Buck’s songs and then record them, but once we started, I realized it wasn’t going to happen that way. Each song began to take on its own shape and expression, and the album became as unique a recording experience as any in my career. It’s almost as if Buck was demanding that… and when that happened, it really became our album,” Ultimately, Yoakam hopes that this is an album that lets the fans, as well as himself, say “I love you Buck, and I love you for giving us your music every time I hear it.

To date Yoakam has sold more than 23 million albums worldwide. Since his 1993 film debut opposite Nicholas Cage in Red Rock West, he has worked steadily in movies and television with exceptional performances in Sling Blade, The Minus Man, Panic Room, and Crank. In 2000 he also directed, wrote and starred in a film of his own South of Heaven, West of Hell.

 
 
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