Thursday, July 23, 2009

GMVW # 81: "Stetson Hats and Leather Boots"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 81:  Stetson Hats and Leather Boots
Song:  1,000 Miles by Dwight Yoakam
(Songwriter: Dwight Yoakam)
July 23, 2009

“Go West Young Man”: So declared Horace Greeley in 1865 in reference to taking the wagon trail westward to “grow up with the country”.  With that wagon trail in mind, along with many-a plane, train and automobile since, the family and I scorched our own trail westward along Rte 90 to the heart of Wyoming, cowboy country, and beyond.  While I plan on documenting the entire trip for next week’s Gem, this week focuses primarily on the dominant music of that mid-western region of the USA: Country. 

To include a Country Gem, I needed help, which brings me to another album recommendation in response to my Gem # 58 request to expand my music listening horizons.  Longtime friend, John Roche suggested a country album, “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Dwight Yoakam. I was not all that confident I would find a Gem on it:  Country is something I rarely dip my feet into.  Music that straddles Country and Rock is one thing (see Gem # 66), but full blown country is another (Johnny Cash being a noted exception).  A tough sell indeed, but John was convincing, and I am much more open to good music in other genres than I once was.  I could do no better to make the case than John did in his recommendation email, so hear is his reply to my request:
“I don't know if you like country music, but I respectfully suggest "Hillbilly Deluxe" by Dwight Yoakam.  It's almost 20 years old by now, but every song on the album is a good one, he is backed by a talented band of guitarists and percussionists, and he sings with a relaxed, even lazy measure, but still very tight and precise, with that distinctive Nashville sound (although the album was recorded in Los Angeles) long after the Nashville sound had been abandoned by most country artists.  Every song is about a part of America that is gone, probably forever, and you'll no doubt wax nostalgic. 

Its good driving music on long rides, and you will find yourself singing along. 

If you have seen the movie "Wedding Crashers", he plays the husband in the hilarious opening scene, where he is trying to mediate a divorce settlement with his wife, played by the looking better than ever Rebecca De Mornay.  In a fit of rage, she calls him a "hillbilly", an irony not lost on this old timer. "


John was bitten by the “Go West” bug long ago.  He frequently travels this way (Montana, South Dakota, etc.).  Somewhere along the lines it appears he’s gained a keen ear for good Country music:  “Hillbilly Deluxe” is solid through and through, and one particular song on it, “1,000 Miles” was addicting.  One day coming home from work, I played it over and over for my entire 40 minute commute.  This alone qualifies it as a Gem of the Week. 

John and I go way back to the sandbox days (John, when was that, 4, maybe 5 years ago?).  A recommendation from a friend for that time span is a valuable one. Thanks John… much appreciated!

Signing off from Moab, Utah
- Pete

Gem Video: “1,000 Miles”

About the Video: Appears to be Austin City Limits.  Full band.  Yoakam is wearing a Stetson hat and white sequenced outfit.

Video Rating: 1

Best Feedback: John

Wow.  I'm flattered.  After reading your email, I dug out my old Dwight Yoakam cassette and listened to it on my way to Providence.  I had forgot about some of the songs that were on that album, but the lyrics came right back!

Heading to Missoula on Saturday, sounds like you had a kick ass trip!


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