Dwight Yoakam takes the stage at Cavendish

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By Tiffany Thornton

Special to The Guardian

It’s opening night at the annual Cavendish Beach Country Music Festival in Prince Edward Island.

Crowds of country music fans are making their way towards the stage, which is adorned with a pair of 25-foot-high replica cowboy boots on either side.

From backstage, I can see thousands of fans wearing cowboy hats swaying to the music while the hot sun bears down on this fabulous venue. They are anxiously awaiting tonight’s headliner Dwight Yoakam.

The stage is all set for his performance tonight. Yoakam is an iconic performer and self-taught guitar player who has been writing his own music since he was eight.

He is known for his trademark cowboy hat and his distinctive genre-blending take on country music. With his new album 3 Pears, and a history of more than 25 million records sold (as well as four number one country hits in Canada), it is evident Yoakam is a creative mastermind who can keep reinventing himself in his music.

I sit down with him before the show to ask a few questions about the present and his plans for the future. 

Q: You are passionate about what you do and it resonates. How do you stay musically inspired and creatively charged?

A: “I just keep listening and remembering great music that I have heard throughout my life. That is what inspired me to make music.”

Q: Do you find making music for you is an intimate process, or is it a collaborative one? 

A: “The recording process can be a little more interactive, but it’s still a pretty solitary creative thought process.”

Q: Your album 3 Pears is very much of this moment. You had mentioned that joy is what the album reflects. During the seven years before this album was released, where was that joy derived from for you? 

A: “Joy was found in the making of the music, and up to that point there were bits and pieces of that music being born throughout that seven-year period.”

Q: Is living by the ocean in Los Angeles often a source of inspiration for you? Does it provide the quiet you need, or are you drawn to the chaos?

A: “It can be. It depends on the time you get to the water. I probably like the stillness. I am nocturnal. The world shuts down a little bit and the white noise cuts in.”

Q: What plans do you have for the future in music and film? 

A: “A few things are in the works. Some things involving TV may or may not come into fruition, we’ll see, but there is also a lot of performance of the 3 Pears album, and there is some alternative music surrounding 3 Pears that may surface this year.”

Q: You have performed several times in Canada throughout the years. What’s the feeling you get being out here?

A: “Well, the Maritimes are unique even in Canada. You guys have your own kind of subculture in the Canadian landscape, so I look forward to it all the time. This is the first time I’ve ever come to Prince Edward Island, and it’s beautiful. Flying in this evening was just gorgeous looking down at the landscape. I have played Newfoundland a lot over the years, as well as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which we play again later this summer. I am really looking forward to it tonight.”

Tiffany Thornton is a Nova Scotia freelance writer

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Recent comments

  • Me
    July 10, 2013 - 03:03

    Great write up! Excited to hear there are possible TV projects and curious to the mention of "alternative music surrounding 3 Pears"