Epiphone's Dwight Yoakam, whose critically acclaimed Ltd. Ed. Elitist Dwight Trash Casino
has become one of the great "must-have" signature models of the last year, performed two sold out shows in Nashville at the 'home of Hank Williams,' the Ryman Auditorium, which was home to the Grand Ole Opry from the early '40s until the Opry moved to the suburbs in 1974.
Dwight rocked the'mother church of country music' with sparkling covers of Elvis' "Little Sister," Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and most of his excellent album, 3 Pears.
Dwight was clearly back in the game and in fine voice. If the energy of his Ryman shows is any indication of what's in store, we've got a lot of great music to look forward to.
Today, most of Nashville's mainstream country acts owe a debt to Yoakam's heady blend of British Invasion pop and Bakersfield country, though most of them don't even know it. Yoakam tried to make it in Nashville before heading to LA in the early 80s and was turned down flat.
"My career has not been (in Nashville), so it's not like it's a homecoming," Yoakam told Rolling Stone
before his show. "I remember the first time I walked in and stood there, you feel the haunted energy of all those legendary country artists. It's always an experience performing the hallowed hall."
Yoakam got a lot a grief from Steve Earle and other Nashville cats in the mid '80s after his breakthrough cover of Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man," but much of that can be attributed to jealousy. After all, Yoakam's peers in LA were X, Los Lobos, and The Blasters, who today all still make better classic (and modern) country music than what's coming out of Music Row. Catch Dwight and band (all decked out in Epiphones) on tour this summer. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long for a new album.