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Dwight Yoakam
Blame The Vain
New West Records
www.dwightyoakam.com


Sure, I had my reservations… a Dwight Yoakam record without Pete Anderson playing and producing? Who's going to make the guitars sizzle and twang perfectly, and who will be responsible for putting all the sonic puzzle pieces in their respective places to create a perfect country record once again? Well, I guess over the years some of that Pete Anderson influence has more than rubbed off on Dwight, himself. Not only is every song on this new release penned by Yoakam, but he has production credits, also. And let me tell you, he's created another perfect country record. Never content to rest on his laurels, Yoakam has not only preserved his own musical integrity, but Blame The Vain finds him pushing himself into new sonic territory as well. Let's explore!

The signature Dwight Yoakam moves are all here. The Appalachian balladry of songs like "Just Passin' Time" are moody and rhythmically soothing, filled with dark guitars and brooding lyrics. The Bakersfield sound breaks free all over this record, but nowhere more prominently than on "Intentional Heartache". The song is chock full of twanging guitars, high stepping drums, loose lyrical poetry and brash attitude. Also included at the end of the song is a very humorous narrative about the characters introduced in the song. "Three Good Reasons" is Elvis Presley channeled into modern swing country, complete with a blistering guitar solo that would make Scotty Moore ultra proud. Where the album makes a huge departure from previous Dwight records is on "She'll Remember" - A rambling synthesizer introduction and Dwight putting on British airs makes for a shock the first listen, but as soon as the intro falls into the classic tones of the song full bore, all the weirdness quickly fades. Despite the odd intro, this turns out being one of the finest songs on the record… a full-blown twang-loving shuffle.

Not only is this possibly Yoakam's finest record to date, but in the end, this whole album becomes an exercise in proving that Dwight has had it together all along, all on his own… He's always surrounded himself with some of the best players out there, but the core of the music is one hundred percent pure Dwight. I might shoulda known.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Blame The Vain
2. Lucky that Way
3. Intentional Heartache
4. Does It Show
5. Three Good Reasons
6. Just Passin' Time
7. I'll Pretend
8. She'll Remember
9. I Wanna Love Again
10. When I First Came Here
11. Watch Out
12. The Last Heart In Line


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