Touring behind Dwightyoakamacoustic.net, his 14th album in as many years, Dwight Yoakam has gone lo-fi. His current show, titled "Tomorrow's Sounds Today," includes a substantial acoustic set inspired by the surprising response to his stripped-down encores on the 1999 tour. And the album features 25 tracks that hearken all the way back to his 1986 debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. Etc. In appropriate fashion, Yoakam's new CD is packaged in a plain jewel case with a white title sticker. So much for industry flash.
That he stripped down is not surprising given Yoakam's approach to his career. He belongs with neither the carefully groomed puppets of Nashville's sausage factories nor the hip clans of alt-country. Yoakam treads his own path, with a pen schooled in honky-tonk, the bluegrass of his native state of Kentucky and the guiding spirituality of the "Bakersfield School" -- Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens and other such '60s and '70s luminaries.
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Yoakam is the rare performer who's impossible to pigeonhole, seems only to get better with time and somehow manages to maintain humility and perspective in the midst of it all. Dwight Yoakam performs Sunday, July 16, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. For more information, call (713)629-3700.