Spin - 12/95, p.877 (out of 10)
- "...most tries at Memphian miscegenation...have led to limp handshakes over a fence. But where Don Was failed, L.A.'s head hick succeeds....Who'd have picked this ratty little gunslinger to make a single too black for country radio?..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/3/95, p.66
"...his most ambitious effort yet..."
- Rating: B+
Musician - 1/96, pp.87-88
"...he not only reveres this music's sacred Carter Family/Jimmie Rodgers past, but is willing to test its stylistic limits to push into the millenium, a chance few peers are taking....startling, but largely on target..."
Village Voice (2/20/96) - Ranked #40
in Village Voice's 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Personnel: Dwight Yoakam (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); James E. Bond Jr. (conductor); Dean Parks (acoustic guitar); Pete Anderson (electric guitar, electric sitar, harmonica); Tom Brumley (lap steel & pedal steel guitars); Scott Joss (fiddle); Lon Price (tenor saxophone); Greg Smith (baritone saxophone); Lee Thornburg (trumpet, trombone); Skip Edwards (accordion, piano, organ, keyboards); Taras Prodaniuk, Dusty Wakeman (bass); Jim Christie (drums); Tempo (percussion); Jim Lauderdale, Joy Lynn White (background vocals).
The Rembrandts: Phillip Solem, Danny Wilde (background vocals).
GONE was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Country Album. "Nothing" was nominated for a 1997 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Personnel: Dwight Yoakam (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, hand claps, background vocals); Dean Parks (acoustic guitar); Pete Anderson (electric guitar, electric sitar, harmonica, hand claps); Tom Brumley (steel guitar); Scott Joss (fiddle); Skip Edwards (accordion, piano, organ, keyboards); Lon Price (tenor saxophone); Greg Smith (baritone saxophone); Lee Thornburg (trumpet, trombone); Jim Christie (drums); Dusty Wakeman, Gary White, Steve Moore (hand claps); Beth Andersen, Jim Haas, Danny Wilde, Jim Lauderdale, John Batdorf, Joy Lynn White, Maxi Anderson, Phil Solem, The Rembrandts, Tommy Funderburk, Carl Jackson, Carmen Twillie (background vocals).
Recording information: Cabin Studios; Capitol Studio B; Encore Studios; Skip Saylor Studios.
Dwight Yoakam always had an obsession with tradition. What has changed in the decade since he debuted with a famously pure honky-tonk homage to George Jones, Hank Williams and Buck Owens is his idea of what tradition is. For Yoakam, it now includes '50s rock, The Beatles, Cajun music and, most audacious of all, Memphis soul.
Every song on GONE is pure to a fault. "Nothing" acquires its soul through a Southern organ, call-and-response horns, and perfectly placed strings; "Baby Why Not" features a blisteringly dead-on Cajun accordion; "Never Hold You" is a '60s guitar-rock raveup that employs the voices of pop revivalists the Rembrandts; and, with the exception of its Tex-Mex horn solo, "Sorry You Asked," a honky-tonker in which a guy bores a friend to death with the mundane details of why his girlfriend left him, is a dead ringer for recent George Jones.
What's not pure is the sweep of the whole album, which ends up sounding unlike either roots-rock or traditionalist country. GONE sounds more like a roots-of-everything record. Yoakam and producer/guitarist Pete Anderson put it together with a vibrancy and urgency that makes it seem less of a look back, and more of a step forward for country music.