If There Was a Way

If There Was a Way

by Dwight Yoakam


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If There Was a Way from 1990 is the first full display of Dwight Yoakam's doppelgänger on record. From the mid-tempo honky tonk of "The Distance Between You and Me" and the classic Bakersfield balladry of "The Heart That You Own" to the balls-out live 21st century rockabilly "It Takes a Lot to Rock You Baby," Yoakam shows his fragmented musical personality that somehow remains inside the framework of his own brand of country. Fans of the old heroes such as Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Hank Thompson, Loretta Lynn, and so on dig Yoakam because he knows how to write and sing a good old country song. The kids and pop audiences love him because he seems to speak to them as much with his swagger as his electricity -- guitarist Pete Anderson is like Don Rich, only from the rock side of the country music fence. "Nothing's Changed Here," written by Yoakam and master songwriter Kostas, is a nod to Tubb in that it refers to the master's "Walkin' the Floor Over You" in "Nothing's Changed Here," a barroom stroller with a gorgeous fiddle solo by Don Reed and a splendid use of reverb by Anderson. "Since I Started Drinkin' Again" is a bluegrass sh*tkicker, but it is one hell of a self-destructive broken-heart song that features some awesome fiddlework by Scott Joss and mandolin and backing vocals by Tim O'Brien. The bluesy, doo-woppy, Doc Pomus-inspired rock balladry of the title track is another move toward the margins for Yoakam -- especially with the shimmering B-3 work by Skip Edwards. "It Only Hurts Me When I Cry," Yoakam's co-write with Roger Miller, who sings backing vocals on the track, is another rocker à la early Conway Twitty. Ultimately the duet with Patty Loveless on Kostas and Kathy Louvin's "Send a Message to My Heart" is a wrought and deeply moving love song. Loveless is the best of her generation. Not even Martina McBride with all her emotion and range can match the soul in the grain of her voice, nor does anyone possess as pure a country voice with the exception of Emmylou Harris perhaps. The bravest moment on the record is also its most fun. The closer is a truly hillbilly deluxe version of Wilbert Harrison's anthem "Let's Work Together." Anderson tears this mother up, raw and wooly, and Yoakam proves himself as fine a R&B singer as he is a country crooner. Here again the rock side of country, the soul side of rock, and the country side of soul are all wrapped here in Yokam's voice backed by a band who have a complete understanding of the tune. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/01/1991
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0075992634441
catalogNumber: 26344

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dwight Yoakam   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jim Lauderdale   Background Vocals
Patty Loveless   Vocals
Roger Miller   Background Vocals
Pete Anderson   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Tom Brumley   Steel Guitar
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Chuck Domanico   Bass,Acoustic Bass
Jeff Donovan   Drums
Skip Edwards   Keyboards
Tommy Funderburk   Background Vocals
Scott Joss   Fiddle,Mandolin
Tim O'Brien   Mandolin,Background Vocals
Dean Parks   Acoustic Guitar
Perkins   Banjo,Dobro,Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Taras Prodaniuk   Bass,Bass Guitar,6-string bass
Amy Ray   Background Vocals
Don Reed   Fiddle
Emily Saliers   Background Vocals
Jeff Donavan   Drums
William Ross   Conductor

Technical Credits

Patty Loveless   Duet
Dwight Yoakam   Art Direction
Pete Anderson   Arranger,Producer
Peter Doell   Engineer
Kevin Reeves   Engineer
Dusty Wakeman   Engineer
Gary White   Recording Assistant
William Ross   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Kim Champagne   Art Direction
Steve Kades   Recording Assistant
Armando García   Recording Assistant

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If There Was a Way 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Born In 1956, Dwight Yoakam was fortunate to grow up near the end of a time when you could hear The Everly Brothers, then Booker T. & the MGs, then some Johnny Cash, and then maybe some Brook Benton on the same radio station. He has always used this to his advantage, seamlessly moving from one genre¿ to another, tipping his hat to a broad range of influences. Ironically, by doing this, he has become, since the mid `80s, the most cutting edge artist in country music. By now, Yoakam¿s band had also become the best in the business, led by Producer, Pete Anderson on guitar. Skip Edwards is a great barrel house style piano player and wonderful organist. His B-3 swims through the great title track, that captures the all the feel of Southern, country soul of the late `50s to mid `60s. Yoakam¿s soulfulness and freshness carry efforts like this through without an ounce of pretentiousness or staleness. Anderson employs a funky twang reminiscent of early Johnny Cash records, and Yoakam is as cool as can be on ¿Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose¿. Yoakam had one of his biggest hits with ¿It Only Hurts When I Cry¿, co written with Roger Miller. This was a natural partnership that should have happened before this. Unfortunately, Miller would pass away soon after. Miller¿s knack for amusingly contradictory lyric writing fits Yoakam, who at times seems to be a mass of contradictions, to a tee. Dwight Yoakam is the smartest lyricist I¿ve ever seen. He is at once tongue in cheek and heartbreaking, cocky and sensitive. What¿s great, is that he makes it seem so simple. When renowned songwriter, Bob Dylan showed Otis Redding a song he had written, Redding said, ¿Too many words, man.¿ Yoakam never trips over his own cleverness. This album helped endear Yoakam to audiences outside of country, while also helping the ¿boom¿ of success of all of country music in the early `90s.