Recommendation XXXXII: Dwight Yoakam & k.d. lang

Recommendations are back!  And back to the music the readers really wanna talk about: country music.  I haven’t done one of these in like a month, so I need to get back into the groove of things again.  I am really excited for what’s to come in ’09: Obama’s becoming president on Tuesday, I’m going to turn the big two-one in March, and life just seems good, despite the economic problems here in the household.  God has been more than good to us, and while I miss college immensely, I will get by, and hopefully can return in the fall.  I will visit my friends again in March, so I’m stoked.  Now, on to the music.

My forty-second recommendation is: Dwight Yoakam & k.d. lang’s “Sin City” from Dwight’s 1989 Just Lookin’ for a Hit album.  I’ve really been into duets and duos lately, and this one is no exception.  I didn’t find out about this collaboration until about summer 2008 and I was blown away by it’s beauty.  I never thought that Dwight Yoakam and k.d. lang would record and sing together and it’s just so special, especially on a traditional country song, a cover/remake of the Gram Parsons song.  Even though this duet is on a mostly “hits” album, I don’t believe it was ever released as a radio single, but man, it was an instant hit in my ears.  I know I’ve recommended k.d. previously, but I have yet to recommend Dwight, so I knew it was time.

Dwight is one of the coolest artists I know and I love his hard-core invocation of Buck Owens, and D.Y. has proven he’s still at the top of his game today.  I’d say my favorite track from him would either be “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose”, “Guitars, Cadillacs”, or “Fast As You”.  My mom just loves his “Blame the Vain” (I do too).  He’s an impressive actor and I loved to hate his evil character in Panic Room.  The last song I bought from him was “Close Up the Honky Tonks”, but it’s totally clear to me now that I need more Yoakam in my collection!

Now, back in regards to the highlighted track of today: “Sin City” was originally written and recorded by Gram Parsons (with Chris Hillman), and has also been covered by many, including pop/rock artist, Beck (his version), as well as Uncle Tupelo (their version), The Flying Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris (her version), Alison Krauss, and more.  The lyrics of the song are a big warning to stay away from the lure and pull of “Sin City”, which doesn’t necessarily mean Las Vegas.  It has a bigger meaning about wanting too much of a bad thing, so much that you’ll lose everything in the end, and it won’t be worth it at all.  It really reminds me of Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers‘s “All the Gold In California”, in that respect.

Dwight and k.d.’s version is a little similar to the original and other covers, but is totally unique because of their impressive vocals; Dwight’s calming poignant voice with k.d.’s smooth, torch-filled power – there’s no denying how good this is.  Backed with a lonesome steel guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar, drums, and electric guitar, you couldn’t ask for anything better, or more aching.  When they cry how “This old earthquake’s gonna leave me in the poorhouse“, you can’t help but believe them, and want to yank them out of that situation, and save their sanity and soul.  If only country could be this great, these days (well, it sorta is, just not so much in the mainstream).  One of country music’s best collaborations, and one I don’t see mentioned too often, so check it out.

Thanks for reading!

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Here are the full lyrics to “Sin City”, written by Gram Parsons & Chris Hillman:

Dwight: This old town is filled with sin
It’ll swallow you in
If you’ve got some money to burn

Take it home right away
‘Cause you’ve got three years to pay
And Satan is waiting his turn.

k.d.: Well, the scientists say it’ll all wash away
But we don’t believe anymore
‘Cause we’ve got our recruits
In their green mohair suits
So please show your I.D. at the door.

Both: This old earthquake’s gonna leave me in the poorhouse
It seems like this whole town’s insane
On the thirty-first floor, your gold-plated door
Won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain.

D: A fool came around, tried to clean up this town
His ideas made some people mad
But he trusted in his crowd
So he spoke right out loud
And they lost the best friend they ever had.

Both: This old earthquake’s gonna leave me in the poorhouse
It seems like this whole town’s insane
On the thirty-first floor, your gold-plated door
Won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain.

On the thirty-first floor, your gold-plated door
Won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain…




  1. Can’t praise Dwight enough! And to think I had to acquire a taste for him. When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand his voice. Now, I can’t get enough of it.

  2. Sin City’s been one of my faves since I first got that cassette… LOL yes Cassette!

  3. Haha cassette.

    I really thought “Intentional Heartache” was going to be his big commercial come-back, but radio proved me wrong, unfortunately. I only heard it very few times.

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