Few entertainers have attained the iconic status of Dwight Yoakam. Perhaps that is because so few have consistently and repeatedly met the high standard of excellence delivered by the Kentucky native no matter what his endeavour.
Having topped the Billboard country album charts, won Grammys and earned a triple platinum album Yoakam is coming to Penticton to play the South Okanagan Events Centre on Sept. 20.
His name immediately conjures up compelling, provocative images: A pale cowboy hat with the brim pulled low; poured-on blue jeans; intricate, catchy melodies paired with poignant, brilliant lyrics that mesmerize with their indelible imprint. Then there’s Yoakam the actor, who seemingly melts into his roles, impressively standing toe-to-toe with some of the world’s top thespians: Jodie Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Forest Whitaker, Nicholas Cage. Add to that Yoakam the entrepreneur and you have a singular talent without peer.
Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, with hits such as Honky Tonk Man, Please Please Baby, Little Ways, It Only Hurts When I Cry and more. His accomplishments place him in an elite cadre of global superstars. Yet the sales have never come at the expense of his musical integrity. Whether singing about the twisted wreckage of romance, the broken dreams of this hard life, or the burgeoning optimism that marks his latest album, 3 Pears, Yoakam brings a knowing, glorious edge to his delivery, and stands, in a world of artifice and flash, as a beacon of authenticity.
Filled with twang and truth, the Kentucky-born, Ohio-raised country superstar hit Nashville in the mid-80s with his debut album, Guitars, Cadilacs, Etc., Etc. Critics and fans alike took notice of the heralding new voice that arrived, with no contemporary rival. Like the icons he so admires – Elvis, Merle, Buck – Yoakam is one of a kind. He has taken his influences and mixed them into his own potent blend of country and rock honouring his predecessors, all while creating something beautifully new. His unique music is too individualistic to fit neatly into any one box.
The 2012 release 3 Pears exemplifies his ability to incorporate multiple, competing influences into a piece of cohesive art. It balances his country core with a fiercely independent embrace of rock, Americana, pop and soul. It blends Yoakam’s respect for his musical predecessors with the collaborative assistance of modern singer/songwriter Beck, who co-produced two tracks, and current rocker Kid Rock, who co-wrote the hooky opener, Take Hold Of My Hand. But most importantly, 3 Pears builds on his trademark edginess with a notable, growing positivity.
“The music just kind of dropped in, in that way,” Yoakam said in a press release. “Music is a bit of a mystery. Like all emotions are. And I think maybe it was something I needed to express and to share with the world at large, something positive when all of us are kind of carrying around this collective, emotional weight.”
Yoakam will be appearing with special guests Brett Kissel, who recently signed with Warner Music Canada for a record deal. The Invictus Entertainment Group country artist is putting the finishing touches on his major label debut album, Started With A Song, due for release this fall. The first single, the title track from the album, will be available on radio starting June 17 and available at all digital retailers on June 18.
Kissell has released two independent albums, sold out countless headlining shows through relentless touring and has earned two CCMA nominations, becoming its youngest nominee ever.
Tickets for the Penticton show go on sale June 13 at 10 a.m. and are available in person at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC, Wine Country Visitor Centre, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or online at www.ValleyFirstTix.com. Prices range from $37.50 to $62.50 (plus applicable service charges). A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for $150 (plus additional service fees) that include one signed item provided by the artist, a meet and greet photo opportunity and one seat in the first three rows to the show.