Picks and Pans Review: Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room

updated 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dwight Yoakam

So what have country music fans done in the last couple of years to deserve the pleasure of being introduced not just to Randy Travis but also to Dwight Yoakam? Yoakam calls what he does "hillbilly music," and it establishes that the words "elegant" and "hillbilly" can fit together perfectly well. The 11 songs on his third album share a sense of control, understatement and expressiveness; nothing seems tacked on merely for decoration. Yoakam enlisted one of his idols, Buck Owens, for a duet on the 1972 Homer Joy tune Streets of Bakersfield, and Maria McKee of Lone Justice adds some Emmylou-caliber harmonizing on the Hank Locklin classic Send Me the Pillow. Such sidemen as fiddler Don Reed, accordionist Flaco Jimenez and Dobro player Al Perkins contribute notably, and producer Pete Anderson sits in, playing a number of stringed instruments. Yoakam—another disciple of the deep and mellow Haggard school of country vocalizing—wrote seven of the songs himself, including the mournfully evocative title tune (the title itself is a bit of eloquence); One More Name, a cautionary tale about talking in your sleep; and Hold On to God, a lively gospel song dedicated to the singer's mother, Ruth Ann. As for the part of the review devoted to complaints, we're talking blank space. (Reprise)

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