Dwight Yoakam began working towards his music career at a very early age. Born in Kentucky and raised in Ohio, he began learning to play the guitar at the age of six. He became a country music fan early on. He listened to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Buck Owens, all in his mother's record collection. During high school, like many young musicians, he started a number of garage bands playing everything from country to rock. He moved to Nashville in the 70s after a brief stay at Ohio State University. Nashville was the field of dreams for any young country musician and Yoakam hoped to find his fame there.
Yoakam's honky tonk style was not the 'in' thing in country music at the time, so he had trouble finding kindred spirits. It wasn't until he had been in Nashville for months that he met guitarist Pete Anderson. The pair hit it off and soon moved to Los Angeles to find a more diverse audience. While in LA they played many nightclubs. They rounded the country music club circuit first, but then branched out into nightclubs that also featured punk and pos-punk bands like the Dead Kennedys and Los Lobos. Yoakam had common influences with the punk bands he followed in the LA clubs and audiences could hear the similarities. The fans that followed Yoakam soon earned the name of cow-punks. The success of Yoakam's club career prompted him to move on to bigger and better things.
Yoakam's decision to take his career to the next level resulted in the release of an independent EP titled A Town South of Bakersfield. The 1984 release was well received in the industry and was played often on LA college and alternative radio stations. The single also helped him to land a contract with Reprise Records. Two years later a full-length album called Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. was released. It became an instant hit. Both rock and country critics praised Yoakam's efforts. Singles from the album began making their way onto radio stations across the country. A cover of Johnny Horton's 'Honky Tonk Man' made it to number three on the charts and helped boost the album to number four. It eventually went platinum in sales.
Fans were lined up for the release of his next album, Hillybilly Deluxe. It spawned four Top Ten hit singles'”'Little Sister', 'Little Ways', 'Please, Please Baby', and 'Always Late with Your Kisses'. His first number one hit came in 1988 with the single 'Streets of Bakersfield'. It was the first single off of his third album, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room. In 1989 Yoakam's compilation album, Just Lookin' for a Hit, went gold. His 1990 release, If There Was a Way, was also a platinum success. Three years later, This Time was an even bigger success. Three number two singles, 'Ain't That Lonely Yet', 'A Thousand Miles from Nowhere', and 'Fast As You' all made it to number two on the charts.
Throughout his recording career Dwight Yoakam toured to promote his various albums. In the summer of 1995 he released an album compiling many of his live songs, aptly named Dwight Live. Though the album was not as successful as his previous efforts, the sales were not indicative of the quality of his live performances. Tickets are always in high demand for entertainment of this caliber. Like many country artists, Yoakam brings a charismatic flare to every live performance. The experience of a Dwight Yoakam concert is as unique as Yoakam's style of music.