Dwight Yoakam

A Long Way Home

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As he entered his second decade of recording, Dwight Yoakam began to take more time between records. A three-year gap separated A Long Way Home from Gone -- the last time he went that long between albums of new material was 1990's If There Was a Way and 1993's This Time. As it happened, This Time was a masterpiece, a breakthrough of sorts in that it expanded Yoakam's already large stylistic trickbag. A Long Way Home doesn't rank with This Time, probably because it is an outgrowth of that leap forward instead of the leap itself, but like Gone, it is a rich, diverse, continually impressive collection of timeless songs. Yoakam and his producer/guitarist Pete Anderson keep things interesting by never following conventions -- "These Arms" has a Bakersfield foundation, but it's graced by sweeping Nashville strings that bring the song into new territory. That's just one of many unexpected touches that make A Long Way Home a rewarding listen, even if it doesn't consistently reach the heights of such previous masterstrokes as Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., Buenos Noches From a Lonely Room, and This Time.

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