Dwight Yoakam 

Dwight Sings Buck

There's no denying the incredible influence the late Buck Owens had on contemporary country music, a power so strong that two of his disciples released tribute albums within a month of each other. Coincidence? Probably. Surprise? Nope.

Austin, Texas', Derailers made their name channeling Owens from the get-go, even throwing in Beatles' licks every now and then as a secondary homage. Under the Influence of Buck is a heartfelt tribute, albeit a little too "by the book." We all knew they could play anything Buck, and an album of note-for-note renditions is OK, but ...

Where the Derailers model their mentor precisely, Dwight Yoakam pays an even greater honor by adapting Owens' finest songs, and in some cases making them better. Yoakam's remake of "Close Up the Honky Tonks" into a ballad may be one of the most powerful musical statements of the year. The student eclipses the teacher, and Buck would be proud of that. 5 stars

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