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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Yoakam offers songs of yesterday, today and tomorrow

FleetBoston, Boston, Sept. 7, 2000

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - The writing on the curtains behind the stage of Dwight Yoakam's concert read "Tomorrow's Songs Today."

Well, that was not exactly accurate at all given a healthy dose of renditions of songs by Elvis and other stars of yesteryear and Yoakam's extensive catalogue over the past dozen plus years.

But who cares really considering the sexy, hip-shaking, knees swinging over-the-top performance by one of his generation's greatest country performers?

Yoakam simply delivered the goods on all accounts from well-chosen covers to great singing without overreliance on the hiccups in his singing to one great, very solid backing band.

No weaknesses in this two-hour show with an eye to the past.

But despite that look backwards, Yoakam actually can plead guilty to living up to the slogan. That actually is the name of next album due in late October. And Yoakam played about four songs from the album with each one top quality.

While an audience often can be left hanging when an artist plays new, unknown material, that was not the case for the Beantown crowd due to the ease of beat and strength of vocals.

In the past, Yoakam has, at times, not been exactly Mr. Charming when it comes to connecting with the audience.

Like some of music's greatest, on this night at least Yoakam not only hit the spot with the enthusiastic crowd musically. He also let loose verbally including once when due to the crowd's reaction, he several times stopped a song in which the woman ends up dead. This ws not your paint-by-the-numbers concert.

But the music ultimately is the ultimate measure and it most certainly was on this night.

You want hits from Yoakam? You got them ranging from "Honky Tonk Man," "Guitars, Cadillacs" and "Little Sister" to "Streets of Bakersfield," "Ain't That Lonely Yet" and the red hot "Fast as You."

You want covers?Yoakam gave them also with Johnny Horton's "North to Alaska," Bill Monroe's "Rocky Road Blues" and the great closing song, Elvis' hit "Suspicious Minds" in which the band turned it up after Yoakam exited the stage for the evening.

As for the band, guitarist Pete Anderson, Yoakam's long-time producer, anchors the band. His leads are solid, often steely and twangy without overdoing it. Scott Joss plays a strong fiddle. Everyone gets a chance to strut their stuff with Yoakam not fearful of letting his band do the talking.

They were a cohesive unit that clearly is road tested, but not road weary.

Ultimately, there was truth in advertising as concert goers were treated to "Tomorrow's Songs Today," but the reliance on the past showed that Yoakam is an artist who probably will stand the test of time with today's songs being played tomorrow.

Danni Leigh, often referred to as a female Dwight Yoakam, offered a strong 45-minute opening set in which she grew stronger as she went along. The sexy, pretty Virginian has a strong set of chords to say the least, excelling most on honky tonk songs.

Unlike many opening acts, Leigh conveyed a sense of being relaxed despite coming on before Yoakam. She could have toned down being the lead Yoakam cheerleader as her music stands on its own quite well thank you.