Dwight Yoakam Population: Me (Audium) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
While Dwight Yoakam's new country counterparts are checking the want ads for short-order cook and ditch-digging jobs, the archetypal Nashville outsider continues two-stepping along with the same winning combination of honky-tonk hellraising and bluesy crooning that's kept him in tailored denim despite the sinking fortunes of mainstream country. Yoakam isn't trying to downplay the twangy bits on Population: Me in a bid for more radio play. Hell, no! He's actually showcasing the fiddle and pedal steel parts for an even more rootsy sound than usual, albeit with a couple of Eagles-style cracks at Cali country-rock that aren't as horrible as might be imagined. And many will be relieved to know that Yoakam's left the flag-waving put-ons to the politicians.