NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Credit Beck with shaping the sound of Dwight Yoakam's new album.
The casual acquaintances finally got together in the studio after a few years of talking about it, and the two songs they did together helped point Yoakam along the way to "3 Pears," his first album of original material since 2005.
"It really acted as a springboard I think for how I approached the execution of recording the rest of the album," Yoakam said in a phone interview. "We kept it very simple in terms of offense, just myself, a drummer and a bass player - three of us laying the basic track down. I was doing what might be a scratch electric guitar and ended up in many cases being kept or being overdubbed by me to fully realize the emotional intent in how I was playing."
Yoakam's first album in his return to Warner Bros. Records comes out Sept. 18. He's been working on the 12 songs for "3 Pears" since 2008 and jokingly describes the process as "reaaall reaaaallllll sloooww."
He started recording the album at Beck's home studio in California with "Heart Like Mine" and "Missing Heart." The rock `n' roll performer and producer is known for his authenticity and he convinced Yoakam to keep things simple and honest. Yoakam told Beck he had "no business" leaving his scratch guitar lines on the record, but the producer disagreed.
"He said, `You and I both know five guys we could call right now who would play circles around this maybe, but it won't be THAT,'" Yoakam recalled.
Yoakam said the recordings reflected the emotion in the song, rather than the precision of the notes, which was key. The entire album is full of emotion and offers Yoakam's first love songs in 25 years.
"Love is something you don't demand - it shows up on its own terms," Yoakam said. "So every song on here I think at some point turns back to the emotion of love, toward someone in a relationship. In the case of me there are personal touchstones in my life. Things are composites a lot. I don't generally detail my personal life verbatim. There's a certain, you know, romance about life in the large sense of what we're all experiencing together that I'm trying to communicate to whoever is listening."