Dwight Yoakam has a distinctive take on country music. He started building his career in Los Angeles, during the height of the urban cowboy craze in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Though everyone wanted to book country acts, his version, which he calls “hard country,” wasn’t always welcome. An acolyte of Bakersfield, California artists like Merle Haggard and even moreso Buck Owens, Dwight is an old-school honky-tonker with a modern perspective.
On his podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones, Tyler Mahan Coe has suggested that there’s no dividing line between honky-tonk and rock ‘n roll. Dwight Yoakam’s career is the proof of this idea. When he didn’t fit in with the urban cowboy scene, he created his own place in Los Angeles’s burgeoning punk and roots rock community, often playing with acts like X, The Blasters, and Los Lobos. He even toured with hardcore punks Husker Du.