There is perhaps no man in the music business as smart as Dwight Yoakam -- not necessarily biz smart (not a wise move wearing out "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in a Gap ad before it surfaced on the recent best-of), not even book smart (never gave him a pop quiz). By smart, I mean only thoughtful, literate, precise, learned, passionate. By smart, I mean Dwight Yoakam is a man given to long, thoughtful interviews during which you're as likely to discover his penchant for painter Arshile Gorky as you are his affinity for, say, Buck Owens; and somehow, he will bring both men into a conversation, insisting one relates to the other. I've spent hours with the man -- on the phone, in hotel suites -- and have always come away wondering whether he's the most sagacious man ever to don a cowboy hat and second-skin leather pants. He can turn an hourlong interview into an afternoon-long discourse on the pleasures of "Wichita Lineman," William De Koonig, Frank Sinatra, and collaborator Billy Bob Thornton. A naive person might say Yoakam's too smart for country music, at least as it exists now in its dumbed-down, shined-up form. The knowing fan will insist it's the perfect avenue for Yoakam; peg him as nothing more than a traditionalist/revisionist, and you've... More >>>