It was Rox who turned me onto Dwight Yoakam, naturally. At some point in the mid-1990s, I started playing her folks like The Jayhawks, Rank & File, and Gram Parsons. You know: alt-country.
And she was all “yeah, those folks are really good, but have you heard this?” And it was Dwight’s 1990 album If There Was A Way, which soon became one of our soundtracks for our trips to and from Fresno, along with Lyle Lovett’s The Road to Ensenada and Wilco’s A.M.
If There Was a Way is filled with one terrific song after another, but for me it peaks with the barn-raising “Dangerous Man.” Sporting a secret Bo Diddley beat, “Dangerous Man” is also fueled by a fantastic Pete Anderson guitar hook, which he deploys after just about every single line that Dwight sings.
He’s a dangerous man
He’s got blood in his plans
Better watch out where you stand
‘Cause he’s a dangerous man
He’ll make you believe that he’s your friend
But don’t forget it’s just pretend
And he’s a dangerous man
Eventually, Anderson doesn’t even bother wait for Dwight to sing anymore, and before the third verse, uncorks a long-ass guitar solo that evokes the very danger that Dwight’s warning us about.
And just in case we didn’t get it the first time, the last minute or so is pretty much more guitar soloing until the fade, which means it’s probably still going somewhere.