Dwight Yoakam comes full circle with Second Hand Heart

Grammy Award-winning country singer, songwriter, actor, and director Dwight Yoakam, 58, returns to Warner Bros.’ Reprise Records with Second Hand Heart—the Kentucky-born artist’s 14th studio album of new material. Yoakam began his career on Reprise with the release of his 1986 debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.. The self-produced new album was mixed by renowned engineer Chris Lord-Alge (Prince, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen). Yoakam also wrote all of the songs on Second Hand Heart except for the covers of Anthony Crawford's ‘V's of Birds’ and the traditional American folk song, ‘Man of Constant Sorrow,’ which has found new life since being featured in the 2000 film “O Brother, Where Art Thou.”

Rolling Stone Country reports that Second Hand Heart “harks back to those nascent days of cow punk.” The term describes the Los Angeles music scene of the mid-‘80s that Yoakam helped usher in alongside acts such as Lone Justice, Rank and File, and the Knitters. The sound also paid homage to rock legends including the Byrds, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. The album's retro-billy title track “rings with infectious jangly guitars, a swaggering beat and Yoakam's instantly recognizable twang,” reads the RS Country review.

Yoakam tells the magazine he wrote the opening verse of ‘Second Hand Heart’ “a couple of years ago,” expecting to include it on his acclaimed 2012 project 3 Pears. “I never finished it. It wasn't meant to be a part of that record and now I know why,” he says. “It's its own statement, and it led this collection of songs in a way.” The album’s overall message is found in the song’s lyrics, which “roll out as an exchange between two weary warriors, whose bruised hearts have made them reluctant to enter love's battlefield again.”

Yoakam leaves the ex-lovers “cautiously willing to try once more,” explaining there's a lot of the same sentiment throughout the album. “Without it being by design, [it’s] about surviving to relive hopefulness,” he explains, adding Second Hand Heart reflects on where the singer’s been as well as where he’s going. “[The track] ‘In Another World’ guided the rest of the album,” claims Yoakam. “It became its statement—about surviving and hope,” he says.

A New York Times review describes the new album as “a reckoning with grown-up love, a battle against disillusionment and a big brash stomp.” Even the ballads are found to be “pugnacious, buttressed by the band’s three-guitar lineup, while Mr. Yoakam’s voice flaunts its rural drawl and holler, breaking into a near-yodel or a rockabilly whoop every chance he gets.” Other tracks on the album that was recorded between shows opening for country hit maker Eric Church include ‘She Dreams of Clay,’ ‘Off Your Mind,’ ‘Believe,’ ‘Liar,’ and ‘The Big Time.’

Dwight Yoakam is supporting Second Hand Heart by touring more than 30 U.S. venues and festivals throughout the spring and summer. Upcoming shows include MerleFest in Wilkesboro, N.C. (Apr. 26), the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco (May 7), Celebrate Virginia Live! in Fredericksburg, Va. (May 15), Shaky Boots Music Festival in Atlanta (May 16), Farm Borough Music Festival in New York City (June 27), Interstellar Rodeo at The Forks Winnipeg, MB, Canada (Aug. 15), and at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (Sept. 4).

Watch Dwight Yoakam in a live studio performance of ‘Second Hand Heart,’ the title track from the Pikeville, Ky., artist’s latest album.


As A Matter of Fact…

* Dwight David Yoakam was born October 23, 1956, in Pikeville, Kentucky. He learned to play guitar at the age 6, listening to his mother's record collection and honing in on the traditional country of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and the Bakersfield honky tonk of Buck Owens.

* After meeting guitarist Pete Anderson in Nashville, the pair moved to Los Angeles, where they found an audience more accepting than the pop-oriented Music City crowd. The duo played both country and punk/post-punk clubs frequented by bands such as X, Dead Kennedys, Los Lobos, the Blasters, and the Butthole Surfers.

* Yoakam's stripped-down, honky tonk revivalism called “cowpunk” found support among the college set. In 1984, he released an independent EP titled, A Town South of Bakersfield, and got substantial airplay around L.A. campuses and alternative radio stations. The EP also helped land a contract with Reprise Records.

* The full-length Dwight Yoakam debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc., was released in 1986 and was an instant sensation. Rock and country critics praised it, and the album was played on college stations across America. In addition, first single ‘Honky Tonk Man’ reached No. 3 on the country charts.

* Both Hillbilly Deluxe (1987) and Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room (1988) were equally successful, spawning seven Top 10 hits including Yoakam’s first No. 1 single, ‘Streets of Bakersfield,’ a cover of a Buck Owens song that Owens himself appears on with Yoakam.

* Yoakam further cemented his place as a country music superstar in 1993 with fifth studio album, This Time, which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. The platinum-selling LP features three No. 2 country singles (‘Ain't That Lonely Yet,’ ‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere,’ ‘Fast As You’).

* Yoakam’s song ‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere’ is featured in the closing credits of the 1992 film “Red Rock West,” which also marked the singer’s acting debut. He’s gone on to become an established big and small screen star, appearing in 25 films and a handful of TV roles. In 2001, Yoakam added writer, director, and soundtrack composer to his resume for his work on the film, “South of Heaven, West of Hell.”

* Dwight Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, releasing 21 albums and compilations on his way to earning 12 gold, 9 platinum, and one triple-platinum LP (This Time)—topping the Billboard country albums chart five times. His more than 30 singles include 22 Top 20 hits, and the 21-time Grammy Award nominee has won three Grammy Awards.

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