||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (December 2009)|
|Birth name||Dwight David Yoakam|
October 23, 1956 |
Pikeville, Kentucky, United States
|Origin||Columbus, Ohio, United States|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, actor, director|
Warner Bros. Nashville
|Associated acts||Buck Owens|
Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, actor and film director, most famous for his pioneering country music. Popular since the early 1980s, he has recorded more than 21 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. Yoakam has recorded 5 Billboard #1 Albums, 12 Gold Albums, and 9 Platinum Albums, including the Triple Platinum This Time. In addition to his many achievements in the performing arts, Yoakam is also the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.
Early life 
Yoakam was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, the son of Ruth Ann, a key-punch operator, and David Yoakam, a gas-station owner. He was raised in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Columbus's Northland High School in 1974. During his high school years, he excelled in both music and drama, regularly securing the lead role in school plays, such as "Charlie" in a stage version of Flowers for Algernon, honing his skills under the guidance of teacher-mentors Jerry McAfee (music) and Charles Lewis (drama). Outside of school, Yoakam sang and played guitar with local garage bands, and entertained his friends and classmates with his impersonations, such as Richard Nixon, who, at the time, was heavily embroiled in the Watergate controversy.
Yoakam briefly attended Ohio State University, but dropped out and moved to Nashville in 1977 with the intent of becoming a recording artist. Later on, Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, West Virginia awarded and presented Dwight with an honorary doctorate degree on May 7, 2005.
Music career 
Not making much headway in Nashville, Yoakam moved to Los Angeles and worked towards bringing his particular brand of new Honky Tonk or "Hillbilly" music (as he called it) forward into the 1980s. Writing all his own songs, and continuing to perform mostly outside traditional country music channels, Yoakam did many shows in rock and punk rock clubs around Los Angeles, playing with roots rock or punk rock acts like The Blasters (Yoakam scored a small video hit with his version of their song "Long White Cadillac"), Los Lobos, and X. This helped him diversify his audience beyond the typical country music fans, and his authentic, groundbreaking music is often credited with rock audiences accepting country music.
Yoakam's recording debut was the self-financed EP Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. on independent label Oak Records produced by lead-guitarist Pete Anderson; this was later re-released by Reprise records, with several additional tracks, as his major-label debut LP, 1986's Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.. It launched his career. "Honky Tonk Man", a remake of the Johnny Horton song, and "Guitars, Cadillacs" were hit singles. His stylish video "Honky Tonk Man" was the first country music video ever played on MTV. The follow-up LP, Hillbilly Deluxe, was just as successful. His third LP, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room, included his first No. 1, a duet with his musical idol, Buck Owens, on "Streets of Bakersfield". 1990's If There Was a Way was another best-seller.
Yoakam's song "Readin', Rightin', Route 23" pays tribute to his childhood move from Kentucky, and is named after a local expression describing the route that rural Kentuckians took to find a job outside of the coal mines. (U.S. Route 23 runs north from Kentucky through Columbus and Toledo, Ohio and through the automotive centers of Michigan.) Rather than the standard line that their elementary schools taught "the three Rs" of "Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic", Kentuckians used to say that the three Rs they learned were "Readin', 'Ritin, and Route 23 North".
Johnny Cash once cited Yoakam as his favorite country singer. Chris Isaak called him as good a songwriter that ever put a pen to paper. Time Magazine dubbed Yoakam "A Renaissance Man" and Vanity Fair declared that "Yoakam strides the divide between rock's lust and country's lament." Along with his bluegrass and honky-tonk roots, Yoakam has written or covered many Elvis Presley-style rockabilly songs, including his covers of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in 1999 and Presley's "Suspicious Minds" in 1992. He recorded a cover of The Clash's "Train in Vain" in 1997, a cover of the Grateful Dead song "Truckin'", as well as Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me". Yoakam has never been associated only with Country music; on many early tours, he played with Hardcore Punk bands like Hüsker Dü, and played many shows around Los Angeles with Roots/Punk/Rock & Roll acts. His middle-period-to-later records saw him branching out to different styles, covering Rock & Roll, Punk, 1960's, Blues-based "Boogie" like ZZ Top, and writing more adventurous songs like "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere". In 2003, he provided background vocals on Warren Zevon's last album The Wind.
2005 saw the release of Yoakam's well-reviewed album Blame the Vain, on New West Records. Yoakam also released an album dedicated to Buck Owens, Dwight Sings Buck, on October 23, 2007. His duet with Michelle Branch, a song titled "Long Goodbye", was released as a free download on Branch's official website in early 2011.
In July 2011, Yoakam re-signed with Warner Bros. Nashville and announced plans to release a new album. 3 Pears was released on September 18, 2012 with twelve new tracks. The album, produced by Yoakam, includes collaborations with Kid Rock, Beck, and Ashley Monroe. 3 Pears was released to resounding critical acclaim and earned Yoakam the highest-charting debut of his career on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Country Albums charts. 3 Pears reached #1 on the Americana Radio chart on October 29, 2012 and went on to break the 2012 record for most weeks at #1 on Americana Radio. By the end of 2012, the album was named on annual best of lists by NPR, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, AOL's The Boot, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, and Rhapsody, and has been included in more critic's "best of 2012" lists than any other artist in the country genre.
Film career 
Yoakam has also starred in many films, most notably in critically acclaimed performances as an ill-tempered, abusive, live-in boyfriend in Sling Blade (1996), as a psychopathic killer in Panic Room (2002), as a police detective in Hollywood Homicide (2003) and as the sheriff in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005). He appeared in a supporting role as Doc Miles, the doctor for Chev Chelios, in Crank and its sequel, Crank 2: High Voltage. In addition, he also guest starred in the King of the Hill episode Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men as Lane Pratley. Yoakam also had a cameo appearance in the 2005 comedy movie Wedding Crashers. In 2008, Yoakam played Pastor Phil in Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and he appears in the 2010 film Dirty Girl. He also appeared in The Last Rites of Ransom Pride, an independent 2010 Western that also stars fellow country singer Kris Kristofferson. In 1993, he played a truck driver in the Wyoming crime thriller, Red Rock West.
Some of his songs are included in the film Big Eden (2000).
Yoakam was featured in a recurring role as "The Stranger" on FX's hit series Wilfred.
He was also Brentwood Glasscock in The Newton Boys.
Food ventures 
Awards and recognition 
Yoakam won the Grammy Award for "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" in 1993 for the song "Ain't That Lonely Yet". He was also named "Artist of the Year" by CMT Europe in 1993 and given the International Touring Artist Award by CMA in 2007.
In 2011, Yoakam received the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award for his trailblazing achievements in the country music genre.
Studio albums 
- Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (1986)
- Hillbilly Deluxe (1987)
- Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room (1988)
- If There Was a Way (1990)
- This Time (1993)
- Gone (1995)
- A Long Way Home (1998)
- dwightyoakamacoustic.net (2000)
- Tomorrow's Sounds Today (2000)
- South of Heaven, West of Hell (Soundtrack) (2001)
- Population Me (2003)
- Blame the Vain (2005)
- 3 Pears (2012)
Christmas albums 
- Come On Christmas (1997)
Covers albums 
- Under the Covers (1997)
- In Others' Words (2003)
- Dwight's Used Records (2004)
- Dwight Sings Buck (2007)
Compilation albums 
- Just Lookin' for a Hit (1989)
- Dwight Live (1995)
- Last Chance for a Thousand Years (1999)
- Reprise, Please, Baby (2002)
- The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam (2004)
International releases 
- This Is... (1990)
- La Croix D'Amour (1992)
|1991||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Performer|
|1992||Red Rock West||Truck Driver|
|1994||Roswell||Mac Brazel||TV Movie|
|1995||The Little Death||Bobby Lomax|
|1996||Don't Look Back||Skipper||TV movie|
|1996||Sling Blade||Doyle Hargraves||Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance|
|1997||Painted Hero||Virgil Kidder|
|1998||The Newton Boys||Brentwood Glasscock|
|1998||When Trumpets Fade||Lieutenant Colonel George Rickman||TV movie|
|1999||The Minus Man||Blair|
|2001||South of Heaven, West of Hell||Valentine Casey||Also director and writer|
|2003||Hollywood Homicide||Leroy Wasley|
|2004||Three Way||Herbert Claremont/Clarkson|
|2005||Wedding Crashers||Mr. Kroeger|
|2005||The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada||Belmont||Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture|
|2008||Four Christmases||Pastor Phil|
|2009||Crank: High Voltage||Doc Miles|
|2010||The Last Rites of Ransom Pride||Reverend Early Pride|
|2013||Jayne Mansfield's Car||TBA||pre-production|
|1986||Hee Haw||Himself||1 episode; performer|
|1991||P.S. I Luv U||Harlan Justice||1 episode|
|1993||America Comes to Graceland||Himself||TV documentary|
|1993||Rhythm & Jam||Himself||TV mini-series|
|1997||Ellen||The Bag Boy||2 episodes|
|1998||King of the Hill||Lane Pratley||1 episode|
|2002||Dinner for Five||Himself||1 episode|
|2002||Peter Fonda: Fortunate Son||Narrator||TV documentary|
- Country Music Magazine, May/June 1986
- The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Oxford Press Univ. Press, New York
- Dwight Yoakam's Bakersfield Biscuits website
- Dwight Yoakam Fact Sheet, Dwight Yoakam official website
- Himes, Geoffery. (1998). "Dwight Yoakam". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbuey, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 605–6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Dwight Yoakam|
- Works by or about Dwight Yoakam in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Dwight Yoakam at the Notable Names Database