Dwight Yoakam

Ameripolitan

Phases & Stages

Something happened when Dwight Yoakam worked with Beck on 2012's 3 Pears. The onetime purveyor of hillbilly honky-tonk rediscovered his inner L.A. Eighties punk and revved his guitars back to where they ring truest. Second Hand Heart, only the lanky country star's second album of original songs since 2005 and his second for Warner Bros. since 2001, continues in that vein. Guitars, energy, and emotions are dialed up in a manner that's unique to Yoakam. The title track, nominally a ballad, contains the slashing riffs he's known for, but there's a lot of jangle to love in "Believe." As has been the singer's habit, he takes a well-known tune and remakes it into something nearly unrecognizable yet still 100% country. This time it's the traditional "Man of Constant Sorrow," ratcheted up along with the rest of the disc. Approaching 60, Dwight Yoakam's become relentless.

***.5

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