Album Review: Dwight Yoakam - 3 Pears
By: Matt Bjorke
Blessed with a tenor voice that is easily identifiable, Dwight Yoakam is at the point in his career where he didn't need to keep recording new material and could instead continue to record cool renditions of songs that inspired him throughout his life (albums like Dwight's Used Records and Dwight Sings Buck come to mind) but fortunately for us, 3 Pears isn't such an album. And, in addition to being his first all-new record since 2005's Blame The Vain,the record returns him to the Warner Music Family, this time signed to Warner Brothers Records Nashville instead of sister label Reprise Records.
Eleven of the 12 tracks on 3 Pears are Dwight Yoakam penned tracks with the lone outside song being a stylized cover of "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke." "Waterfall" is a strange little exercise of a song which finds Dwight Yoakam creating what feels like an abstract children's song but is really some kind of psychedelic love song. It may be 'weird' to some but it's fun to me and it's likely to be the favorite for anyone with young kids. "Take Hold Of My Hand" has a classic sounding melody and lyrics married to a modern rhythm section that just sounds cool. In a perfect world this song would be selling all kinds of singles and get played all over the radio.
Love and all the variations of it is the common thread throughout the record with each of the tracks on the record standing out in their own unique and cowboy cool way. Beck produces the Beatles-inspired "A Heart Like Mine" and "Missing Heart" and helps bring a little more uniqueness to the record. In fact, the only real complaint I can make about 3 Pears is that Dwight sometimes has a tic in his voice at parts that can be annoying when appearing in a song too much (as it borders on on "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke").
An interesting part of the record is how he gives us two takes of "A Long Way To Go," the first a rollicking radio-ready groove fest while the latter is 'just' Dwight and the piano with him singing a slower pace. The first version feels like a cousin to "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere."
While Dwight Yoakam may have spent the past decade focusing more on his film career than his music career, he proves with 3 Pears that he's as talented as ever and one of the very few artists on a major record label who are able to challenge the status quo of mainstream music Like Dwight Yoakam does with 3 Pears, his brand of vintage modern Country music.