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Dwight Yoakam

Saturday, July 29, Fawcett Stadium, Canton.

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Of the five albums Dwight Yoakam has released over the past five years, only one (1998's clunker A Long Way Home) actually contains original material. He's filled the rest of the space and time with a covers album, a Christmas collection, a greatest-hits set, and in the case of his latest record, dwightyoakamacoustic.net, unplugged versions of his most popular songs. And while most of those albums are as disposable as they would seem to be, there's a comforting intimacy to dwightyoakamacoustic.net that renders it not quite the throwaway its tiding-over status implies. Of course, it would be nice to have some new music from the guy. The two studio albums that preceded Home -- 1993's This Time and 1995's Gone -- are two of the finest country offerings of the past decade. In an era where Garth and Shania have turned America's purest form of music into homogenized pop for rural kids, Yoakam has stuck to the basics (i.e., good songs, little flash, even less mainstream appeal). His current road show is reaching the masses the old-fashioned way, hitting most major markets via their convention centers, casinos, amphitheaters, state fairs, "Big Valley Jamborees," and for Northeast Ohioans, Fawcett Stadium in Canton. Look for his entire band to join him on this jaunt, which could include some material from a forthcoming album, promised for arrival in the fall -- this time including all new music.

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