I understand that Dwight Yoakam is a busy guy. South of Heaven, West of Hell, a western he directs and stars in along with Bridget Fonda, Vince Vaughn, and Billy Bob Thornton, opens later this year, and this fall he'll also be releasing an all-new album. But that's really no excuse for his current release, Dwightyoakamacoustic.net (Reprise). The bio that came with my copy of the CD--which is designed to look like a home-burned CD-R--says the collection was inspired by enthusiastic crowd response to a solo acoustic feature he included in concerts on his 1999 tour. To rip through these 24 originals and yet another cover of "Little Sister" musta taken him three or four hours, including coffee breaks. I suppose it does illustrate something about these gems--namely that Pete Anderson's usual post-Bakersfield production, missing here, is an invaluable complement to Yoakam's nasal croon. After 75 minutes I was dying to hear a piano tinkling or a pedal steel crying in the background. Since 1996 Yoakam has released one new studio album and four collections of dis-n-dat: a live album, a greatest-hits collection with a couple new tunes, a tossed-off covers album, and now this. Let's hope the one he's got coming will justify all the hemming and hawing. Presumably he'll play some material from it here; he'll also be accompanied by his full band, which is a rarity at venues this small. Tuesday, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Randee St. Nicholas.