Since 1986, the songwriting and performance style of Dwight Yoakam has inspired artists beyond America's borders and across the supposed divides between musical genres. For examples of songs that make the whole world sing like a hillbilly, look no further than Yoakam's 1993 album This Time, which features "Fast as You," "King of Fools," "Ain't That Lonely Yet," "Wild Ride," "Pocket of a Clown," "Try Not to Look So Pretty" and Josh Rennie-Hynes' personal favorite, "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere."
Like many artists and fans who've moved to Nashville, Australia-born singer-songwriter Rennie-Hynes got to dissect one of his favorite artists' hits up close and personal not long after arriving in town.
"I saw Dwight Yoakam last year at the Ascend Amphitheater here in Nashville and it was a killer show," Rennie-Hynes tells Wide Open Country. "He had so much energy and presence and just banged one song to the next. His band was killer, too. After that I went down a bit of a Dwight Yoakam hole and in particular listened to 'A Thousand Miles from Nowhere' a whole heap. I'd just finished recording [my album] around that time and for some reason that song struck a chord with me. I think the day we finished mixing I ended up in Fran's that night and I sang this one. It's a beautiful melody, and then in the chorus he says 'I' over and over again, which I thought was pretty nifty."
Despite first making a name for himself with a cover of Johnny Horton's "Honky-Tonk Man" and later interpretations of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and Buck Owens' "Streets of Bakersfield," Yoakam soared as a songwriter throughout his run of classic albums produced by guitarist Pete Anderson.
Rennie-Hynes built his own reputation in Australia with two critically-acclaimed solo albums and a successful run as half of The Ahern Brothers. He left that all behind to chase his country music dream in the United States. The fruits of Rennie-Hynes' well-traveled wisdom and great taste in country songs include new album Patterns, out since Sept. 27.