Dwight Yoakam sees several parallels between his latest album, “Second Hand Heart,” and his 1986 debut, “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.”
“It feels in a strange way connected to ‘Guitars, Cadillacs’ in the way that it came about,” Yoakam said.
“The (new) album kind of created itself. And you know, funny enough, ‘Guitars, Cadillacs’ … the first album did that. It was an example of the album leads you to where it’s going to go.”
What’s more, both “Guitars, Cadillacs” and “Second Hand Heart” were recorded in the same studio: the legendary Capitol Records Studio B.
“That room’s just flat out got magic in it,” Yoakam said. “The first six studio albums of my career were done at Capitol Studios, ‘Guitars, Cadillacs’ through ‘Gone.’ So that feels like home always. That room doesn’t lie. You better be on your game when you go into B because it just spits back to you in your face exactly what you just did.”
But what might be the biggest link between the two albums is an attitude Yoakam brought to the projects — a spirit, as he put it, of “reckless abandon, mischief-making and fun” that reminded him of why he wanted to make music in the first place.
It’s a feeling he says has been present at times on all of his albums but was never articulated as well as it has been with certain songs from the previous album, “3 Pears,” and now “Second Hand Heart.”
“You hear it on all of the albums,” Yoakam said of that reckless abandon. “You hear it on things like ‘Long Way Home.’ Another song that would have that expression in it would be ‘Only Want You More,’ a raved-up rockabilly coming-off-the-rails (kind of song). And in (the 1995 album) ‘Gone,’ I think the song ‘Never Hold You’ has a bit of that thing.
“But left to my own devices, I’m pushing more kind of the envelope maybe on ‘3 Pears’ and now this (album), in terms of the sonics of it.”
That full-throttle sound pops up on the new album in Yoakam’s cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow” (made famous on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack) and his original, “Liar.”
On those tracks, Yoakam amps up the beats, lets the guitars rip and rocks out with the kind of abandon he has only occasionally displayed on earlier albums.
“Yeah, that’s a collision of the Ramones ambushing Bill Monroe,” Yoakam said of his take on “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
If Yoakam rarely rocked as hard on his earlier albums as he does on “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “Liar,” his sound nevertheless proved very successful, especially during the first decade of his career.
A native of Pikeville, Ky., who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, Yoakam came to Los Angeles in 1977, inspired by the rocking country sounds of Bakersfield-based Buck Owens and the Byrds.
He scuffled for several years before getting signed by Warner Bros. and releasing the chart-topping “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.” album. It started Yoakam on a commercial roll that has produced nine platinum albums. He has sold 25 million albums.
A couple of members of his touring group also played extensively on “Second Hand Heart,” lending a continuity to the album and live show.
“It’s just gratifying to have the musicians I’m working with on stage work on the record with me,” Yoakam said.
Dwight Yoakam performs a free show Thursday at the Power & Light District. Show time is scheduled for 7 p.m.