Yoakam and his band will kick off the marathon tour July 1 at the Sundome Center for the Performing Arts in Sun City West, Ariz. He has 52 dates on tap, taking the road trip into November.
Along the way, he’ll stop at casinos, fairs, sheds, clubs and theatres across North America ranging from Club 97 in Bend, Ore., to a three-night run at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Yoakam scored a crossover hit a couple of years ago with Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” which he recorded for a Gap ad. But playing against Nashville stereotype is old hat for the purveyor of California country twang.
He made his breakthrough with a traditional country sound, collaborating with Nashville exile Buck Owens in the late 1980s when the genre was shifting to a more manufactured, pop-rock sensibility.
With a band comprising principle songwriter and guitarist Pete Anderson, fiddler Scott Joss, steel guitarist Gary Morse, and keyboardist Skip Edwards, Yoakam packs a sound that owes more to Owens and the Flying Burrito Brothers than to Randy Travis or George Strait.
Yoakam’s most visible thumb of the nose at Nashville could be in the non-musical area: he’s also become a moderately successful player in the Hollywood film community, with roles in maverick films including “Sling Blade” and “The Newton Boys.”
Just last month, he premiered “South of Heaven, West of Hell” – a magnum opus of sorts which Yoakam wrote, directed, acted in and scored. The film includes fellow musicians Joe Ely and Warren Zevon in the cast while Buck Owens served as co-executive producer.