And so 30 years down the line — a lot of great music I need to get deeper into — Dwight Yoakam has become an elder statesman, his audience loyal, his songs nowhere near the radio, and his songwriting as sharp as its ever been.
Free from all but the most superficial trappings of country music — of course, you’ll have to pry his hat from his cold dead head — for years, Dwight has filled his albums with whatever the hell he wants — folk songs, cover songs, rock songs and country songs. Or songs straddling the line, like “Second Hand Heart.”
“Second Hand Heart” is ruled by a persistent riff, a huge hook and, of course Dwight’s tenor, which has barely aged a day, as he sings:
She said when I trusted love I dreamed in color too
But memories turn black and white, at least mine do…
She said my brother, you know, he used to have this friend…
But this is now and that was then
It’s better off just not to start
Than to have to watch us fall apart
All because of my second hand heart
Catchy without being slick, and featuring a harmony-filled bridge, a pounding piano throughout and that riff digging its way into your head, “Second Hand Heart” is one of those songs that doesn’t fit any category, and — even better — doesn’t care that it doesn’t fit any category.
That’s just Dwight Yoakam. Long may he continue to make his music.
“Second Hand Heart” performed live in 2015