Hard to believe it's been more than a quarter-century since Dwight Yoakam turned Nashville on its ear with the hard-charging Hillbilly Deluxe. You have to hand it to him: He's not one to rush things. It had been seven years since 2005's Blame the Vain, but he took the time to do it right on new album 3 Pears. Here Yoakam balances his hard-won honky-tonk maturity ("Waterfall," "Nothing But Love") with songs that retain a youthful spring in their step, and gives the year one of its most brilliant/awful puns in the title track. Yoakam's old L.A. buddy, adopted Houstonian Mike Stinson, opens with what we hope will be some new tunes from the album he's finished but has yet to release.
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