opener of Hillbilly Deluxe
, leaves no doubt as to Dwight's stylistic and geographical affiliation. As before, Yoakam goes against the Music City grain at nearly every turn recording in L.A., using his own road band, steering clear of anything remotely resembling "sweetening."
If he makes any conscious attempts at crossing over to a rock audience, it's only by taking country music back to its roots, which are but a stone's toss from the earliest rock & roll or, in the case of his killer cover of Elvis's "Little Sister," by delving into rock's roots, showing rock's similarity to hard country. The LP's only other covers are from deep C&W Lefty Frizzell and Stonewall Jackson; the rest of the program consists of Yoakam's original blue-collar story songs, such as "Johnson's Love" and "Readin', Rightin', Rt. 23."
One of the big reasons for Hillbilly Deluxe's success is producer-guitarist Pete Anderson, who also manned the controls for Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. Anderson uses every bit of modern technology at his disposal to capture, rather than alter, the band's live sound. He's also a journeyman country picker; he may not be the next link in the Telecaster chain of James Burton, Don Rich and Albert Lee, but he gives it some new twists dig his economical jabs in "Please, Please Baby." As of this writing, Pete has left Yoakam's touring band, but his name will no doubt show up on future projects. And considering the strength of Hillbilly Deluxe, let's hope there will be plenty more of those. (RS 501)