Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
Label: Warner Records/Via Records
3 Pears proves you can't keep a quality artist down. "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke" is a storming barn-burner that picks up right where Yoakam left off years ago. The Beck-produced "Missing Heart" finds Yoakam singing, "I am an open wound/ In need of room/ With space to heal" -- with the glut of country songs about trucks and beer, it's nice to hear some real emotion! Lightening things up is the title track -- a jangling slice of rootsy pop with pristine arrangements evoking shades of Elvis Costello. Other highlights: "Long Way to Go," "Take Hold of My Hand" and the Byrds-y "Rock It All Away."