21st Century Hits: Best Of 2000-2012

Dwight Yoakam

New West Records, 2013

http://www.dwightyoakam.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/09/2014

New West have stumbled onto a great idea with collecting pivotal tracks from some of the superstars on their roster and putting them together into a eye-catching package with liner notes, unreleased songs, and in this case a bonus DVD as well. Culled from the last five Yoakam albums, including Tomorrow's Sound Today, Population Me, Blame The Vain, Dwight Sings Buck, and 3 Pears, this collection features a good mix of covers and a couple of  celebrity guest vocals while also serving as an ideal way to catch up on the last 12 years of Yoakam's career. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Regardless of your opinion on his music, you can't argue that Yoakam has integrity. While countless country artists have cashed in by bringing pop into their twang and entering the charts and FM dial far from their roots, Yoakam has kept his unpolished and heartbreaking brand of country firmly where it originated. Songs like the slow-burning "Close Up The Honky Tonks" and "The Sad Side Of Town" are proof in both sound and subject matter that country music is a part of his soul. Elsewhere he gets riled up with "I Wanna Love Again" and "International Heartache," rowdier tunes that would make even the most anti-country fan want to learn to line dance.

The duets and covers are some of the most interesting selections. “Long Goodbye,” with Michelle Branch, is a folk-rock collaboration, a bit off of Yoakam's usual path, but it works well. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” a Queen cover, is a straight up rockabilly tune that sounds like it could be a Stray Cats b-side, and goes even further than what we'd expect from Yoakam. However, like the Branch duet, it's a welcome surprise. “If Teardrops Were Diamonds,” with Willie Nelson, is a pensive and aching duet -- one of the best tracks included and near the greatness of“Just Passin' Time,” that would win anyone over with its guitar picking acrobatics and thoughtful wordplay.

Though Yoakam die-hards might grumble about the song selection here, for the mild fan, this is a fantastic glimpse into one of country music's finest artists' recent output. With a bonus DVD of five videos and a sharp-looking package, this is a must for Yoakam's longtime supporters and a great start for the fresh ears out there.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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