And don’t fret: There is country music on this record, but it is a style far removed (both geographically and philosophically) from Nashville. The cover of Bakersfield, California, stalwart Joe Maphis’s “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” is another one of Yoakam’s souped-up renditions of honky-tonk classics, while “Long Way to Go” sounds ready-made for contemporary country radio without sounding slick and soulless. The title track, meanwhile, is an excellent example of the boundaries Yoakam is willing to blur.
Norwood Pratt is, like the author, an ex-Marine who fought in the Korean War, though he only “got in on the tail end of it.” After his father dies, Norwood is granted a hardship discharge and returns home to Ralph, Texas, to look after his sister Vernell, “a heavy, sleepy girl with bad posture.”
Billy Bob Thornton’s evolution from the guy from Slingblade into a regular guy might be the most impressive achievement of his autobiography. It takes a lot for a poor scamp like myself to identify with and relate to a well-known millionaire.