Bakersfield disciple pays tribute to hitmaker and Hee Haw host Buck Owens
If imitation is the sincerest form of ?attery, then Dwight Yoakam’s new album honoring country-music legend Buck Owens, who died at 76 in March 2006, is pretty dang ?attering: Yoakam’s renditions stick fairly close to the original honky-tonk hits. When Yoakam does stray from his mentor’s simple twang, the results are mixed. Witness “My Heart Skips A Beat,” where Yoakam goes a little hokey-yokel by scooping each note in the title. But when he adds a sexy little growl to the “aw” of “aw yes / you are my every dream come true,” the affectation actually improves the material. Where Owens’ voice and arrangements were sweet and old-fashioned, some of Yoakam’s add a little pop-country shine and occasionally inspired touches: A syncopated snare gives a kick to “I Don’t Care,” and the organ in “Only You” infuses a gospel quality. Yoakam oversings the tinkling piano and strummed guitar of "Together Again," but all in all, he does Buck proud.