Dwight Yoakam, “Close Up the Honky Tonks”

Shortly before his death, Johnny Cash was asked who he thought the best male vocalist in country music was. His response: Dwight Yoakam. Anyone wondering where Cash was coming from need only spin “Close Up the Honky Tonks”, a tantalizing preview of Yoakam’s upcoming Buck Owens tribute.

My personal favorite Dwight Yoakam album was his remake collection Under the Covers, which featured refreshing, personal takes on familiar material. If “Close Up the Honky Tonks” is any indication, the Owens tribute will follow the same formula, eschewing paint-by-numbers covers completely. Yoakam slows down this overly familiar country shuffle, bringing out the deep, depressing sadness that was always lurking beneath. His vocals, as always, are beyond reproach.

Grade: A-

Listen: Close Up the Honky Tonks


  1. I have to agree with Johnny Cash and the review on this song. I first heard both johnny and Dwight at the same time with their hits “I Walk The Line” and “Little Sister” on my grandfathers favorite country oldies station. Of course I was young.

    Now in my late teens I have found a lot more respect for the older country aritsts and Dwight has consistantly keept me hooked to his music, new and old. When I first heard this song I didn’t even realize it was a Buck take off, I just loved it and you can definatly hear that Dwight knows what he’s singing about and knows why hes singing it. Awsome song by one of countries best male artists of all time.

  2. This song was an album cut on Buck’s TOGETHER AGAIN / MY HEART SKIPS A BEAT album released in 1964. This album had about ten songs on it that could have been released as singles including “Close All The Honky Tonks”, “A-11” ,and “Hello Trouble”.

    I don’t know that Dwight brings anything new to the table with this recording but it’s well performed, worth hearing and I’m sure Buck approves of it

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