Dwight Yoakam Blame the Vain

The rousing rebel of country music and sometime actor returns with a new disc on a new label. Blame the Vain sees Yoakam returning to his rockabilly and alt-country roots — looking back to what got him playing this thing called country music in the first place. Following a tour in 2002, the songwriter hooked up with a new crop of renegade twang-sters and it’s this newfound group of musical merrymakers that has Yoakam sounding younger and more reckless and free on this disc. The result is one of the country star’s best albums. One member of this new breed is 30-year-old guitarist Keith Gattis, who struts his stuff on his Telecaster, complementing Yoakam’s rebel yell perfectly. The dozen tracks have a common theme of love lost. The title track is a rockin’ tear jerker delivered with Yoakam’s trademark rich yodel. Guests include the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmitt who adds some great harmony vocals throughout. Some of the numerous highlights include the Southern fried country-surf song "Intentional Heartache,” the sleepy ballad "Just Passin’ Time,” and the Elvis Presley honky tonk number "Three Good Reasons.” Overall, Blame the Vain shows that the prolific songwriter (this is his 18th disc in 21 years) only gets better with age. (New West)