Bluegrass

Dwight Proves He’s Always Had Bluegrass in His Veins

dwight-yoakam-003Dwight Yoakam PROVES He’s Always Had Bluegrass in His Veins

With a Little Help From Flatt Lonesome at the International Bluegrass Awards

In addition to winning Vocal Group and Album of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards last night (Sept. 29), Flatt Lonesome won Song of the Year for “You’re the One,” a tune written by Dwight Yoakam that was featured on his 1990 album, If There Was a Way. That got me thinking about Dwight. Full disclosure, Dwight is my favorite artist, so it doesn’t take much to get me thinking about him.

dwightyoakamSLast week (Sept. 23), Dwight released his first bluegrass album, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars, a collection of tunes from his past catalogue—with one outlier: Prince’s “Purple Rain”—that are re-invented as bluegrass ditties. Although the album is technically his first foray into bluegrass, it’s quintessentially Dwight. There’s no doubt that bluegrass music is in Dwight’s Kentucky blood as he hoots and swaggers throughout the album like only he can. With the backing of an A-list band of bluegrass virtuosos, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars is a prodigious record, and fans of both country and bluegrass will enjoy it.

During an intimate performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sept. 21, Dwight talked at length about the process of selecting the album’s songs with co-producers Gary Paczosa and Jon Randal. Many of the tunes on the new album are deep cuts from Dwight’s collection, including “What I Don’t Know” (1988’sBuenas Noches From a Lonely Room), “Sad, Sad Music” (1990’s If There Was a Way) and “Free to Go” (2000’s Tomorrow’s Sounds Today), among others. He coupled those deeps cuts with Top 10 hits like “Guitars, Cadillacs” and “Please, Please Baby,” before rounding out the album with “Purple Rain,” which was recorded with scratch vocals after Dwight heard the news that Prince had died.
Although “You’re the One” originally appeared on Dwight’s fourth studio album, If There Was a Way, in 1990, he actually recorded a demo of it in 1981. The demo version was released on Dwight’s 2002 box set, Reprise Please, Baby, as well as the 2006 reissue of his debut album, Guitars, Cadillacs. When the song was released as single in 1991, it climbed to No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.Which brings me back to Flatt Lonesome and their re-recording of Dwight’s “You’re the One,” which, by the way, was not featured on Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars.

I wrote all of that so I could write this: “You’re the One,” a song that Dwight wrote and recorded more than 35 years ago, just won the 2016 Bluegrass Song of the Year. Props to Flatt Lonesome for proving Dwight has always had bluegrass in his veins, and props to Dwight for backing up that sentiment with Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars.

Check out both Flatt Lonesome and Dwight’s versions of “You’re the One” below.

– main photo by Emily Joyce

 – by Jim Casey NashCountryDaily

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