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YOAKAM SAYS THE YOKE OF MATURITY IS A BLESSING

Dwight Yoakam says he's a wiser, quieter man than the one who stormed the country music scene in 1986.

Yoakam was a brash newcomer, critical of the country music establishment, but he thinks would-be singers shouldn't follow his example."I'd say, `In deference to your music, don't be as candid about your subjective opinions with regard to specific artists and musical styles," Yoakam, 35, told The Tennessean in an interview published Saturday in Nashville.

"The public doesn't really care about those issues in a specific sense, and it will only serve to distract from the central issue, which should be your musical performance."

His hits include "Honky Tonk Man" and "Little Sister."