Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Yoakum continues Bakersfield style of country music

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

A Southern rock band called The Rob Leines Band opened for Dwight Yoakum at the Oct. 7 concert in Pala Casino’s Events Center. During that performance, Rob Leines, who is originally from Georgia, made the comment: “There are two things I don’t talk about on stage. That’s politics and college football. But go Dawgs.”

It needs to be clarified here that politically Oklahoma City is the capital of the state of Oklahoma. Those whose family members include Okies may joke that Bakersfield is the capital of Oklahoma. What Dwight Yoakum said during the concert and what was played during his portion indicates that Yoakum is keeping the Bakersfield style of country music alive.

The Rob Leines Band performed eight songs in the group’s 42 minutes on stage. Yoakum and his musicians performed 21 songs in 82 minutes, not including a one-minute break prior to the encore. That left Yoakum with little time for comments, and he made remarks three times.

The third was prior to the encore, when he noted how enjoyable it is to perform live concerts. The second was prior to “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” when he talked about the Cleveland National Forest and Palomar telescope areas being worthy of the meaning of that song.

The first group of Yoakum’s comments followed the song “Streets of Bakersfield.” He noted that the entirety of California has elements of Bakersfield, and then he talked about Bakersfield style legends Buck Owens (with whom Yoakum recorded the song) and Merle Haggard.

Owens was born in northern Texas, moved to Arizona during the Dust Bowl as a child, moved to Bakersfield in 1951, and opened Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield in 1996. Haggard was born in Oildale just outside of Bakersfield and spent much of his childhood in Oildale or Bakersfield.

Yoakum was actually born in Kentucky and raised in Ohio before moving to Nashville and then to Los Angeles. Owens passed away in 2006. Haggard died in 2016. Yoakum is continuing the Bakersfield style of country music, which requires a physical presence in Bakersfield about as much as Bakersfield being the capital of Oklahoma requires a physical presence in the Sooner State.

As part of his tribute to Haggard, Yoakum often performs the Haggard song “Okie from Muskogee,” and that included the Oct. 7 concert. Yoakum has also been influenced by Elvis Presley; he has actually recorded covers of “Little Sister” and “Suspicious Minds” on his albums and he played both songs at Pala Casino. Johnny Horton originally recorded “Honky-Tonk Man” which later became a hit for Yoakum and was performed at the Pala Events Center.

This is not to say that Yoakum has no originality. He was the original recording artist for “Ain’t That Lonely Yet,” “Guitars, Cadillacs,” and “Fast as You” (as well as “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”) and he played those songs in Pala as well. In his songs, Yoakum has been both a leader and a follower. As the heir to the Bakersfield style of country music, he is a follower and has now become a leader.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 04/06/2024 13:22