Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Inviting Beck to co-produce two tracks on Dwight Yoakam’s first album of original material since 2005 (and his return to Warner Brothers after a sojourn at New West), might seem like a bold experiment to push his traditional Bakersfield sound in new and intriguing directions. But the results don’t reveal anything radically different as Yoakam delivers another in a series of quality roots country releases. This one funnels his twangy vocals and reverbed guitar through rock and pop tunes that are Beatle-esque in their conciseness and sheer hum-ability. Songs such as “Take Hold of My Hand,” Nothing but Love,” “Missing Heart,” “A Heart Like Mine” and a bonus cover of the Bee Gees’ by way of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “To Love Somebody” show that matters of lost love remain top priority in Yoakam’s life and he sings them with his typically world weary yet hopeful style. He goes the Burritos one better on a rollicking “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” that could have come from any of his albums after 1986’s debut, and shows off his impressive vocal chops with only piano accompaniment for a reprise of “Long Way to Go.” Along with a touch of 60s psychedelic pop on the title track this is another terrific addition to a remarkably consistent catalog that doesn’t have many weak moments.