Dwight Yoakam’s 16th studio album finds him tacking toward fundamentalism and leanness, looking back not only to the honky-tonk of his recording youth and the influences that showed up then, but also to ’60s pop and British Invasion rock ’n’ roll. The former gets reprised by a hillbilly take on “Man of Constant Sorrow,” the Roger Miller-esque wordplay (set to a loping shuffle and the singer’s exaggerated drawl) of “Off Your Mind,” and “The Big Time,” a song that’s so gone-Elvis you can almost hear the lip curl. The latter comes mostly in touches and flourishes: the Beach Boys vocal soar on the chorus of “In Another World,” the Byrds-cum-Righteous Brothers vibe of “She,” the hillbilly rock-’60s Stones cross of “Liar,” the “Suspicious Minds” cop on the intro to some otherwise vintage Yoakam mope, “Dreams of Clay.” Less overtly than elsewhere, perhaps, “Second Hand Heart” still demonstrates Yoakam’s peerless ability, album after album, to graft new shoots onto classic forms. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “The Big Time”
Dwight Yoakam performs at Indian Ranch June 28.Stuart Munro can be reached at email@example.com.