Toby Keith has never felt like he had to step gingerly through some politically correct minefield when he writes his songs. "When 9/11 happened, I had a bunch of songs out that had signs of the times running through them," Toby says. "If you listen to that pile of songs now, you can kind of tell what was going on in my world at the time." That "pile" of songs includes the megahits "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" and "American Soldier."
Now, though, in his first release on his own Show Dog Records, Toby is back to just having honky-tonk fun. "White Trash With Money" is, in his own words, "a laid-back, fun, redneck, rockin' roadhouse group."
As has already been widely reported, the album's title comes from Toby's daughter getting into a little set-to at school, and later someone said that she and her parents were just "white trash with money." Toby loved the phrase so much, he decided to use it as the album title.
The album's first single, "Get Drunk and Be Somebody," is one of the 12 Toby wrote or co-wrote for this album. As with many of the other songs, this one was a "bus song" written with Toby's buddy and opening act Scotty Emerick. But, even though it's just supposed to be a fun tune, some folks are objecting to the "get drunk" part.
Likewise, there has been some grumbling (and even some talk of boycotting the album) about another basically good-natured song called "Runnin' Block," which has a line that goes "I tried to drink her skinny, but she's still about 215."
But surely we can all lighten up a little bit on Toby. Especially since other songs on "White Trash With Money" include "A Little Too Late," with its lush strings that echo the classic Nashville Sound of the 1960s, the passionate "Crash Here Tonight" and the swampy "Brand New Bow."
Although his recent label change means that Toby no longer has famed producer James Stroud behind the board in the studio, he teamed up with Lari White (who had a hit album of her own several years back) and stuck with his long-standing method of making records. "I go in the studio, sit down with an acoustic guitar and say to the musicians, 'Look here.' We (play) with it a little bit, they write up a chart, and we hit 'record.' I've cut a few songs more than once, but most of the time it just takes one."
That one-to-one ratio holds true in his songwriting as well. Toby wrote 12 songs for "White Trash With Money," and that's how many he recorded.
"White Trash With Money" is the best album Toby's released in a while. Besides, it shows Toby's daughter exactly how to respond to folks who think they're better than you are.
QUIBBLES 'N BITS
Getting Frisky Dept.: Darryl Worley, best known for "I Miss My Friend" and "Have You Forgotten?," is ready to show a lighter side in his new single. "Nothin' But a Love Thang" is a lighthearted, sexy romp. And, speaking of romps, check out the video, which features Darryl having a (fake, of course) bed scene with supermodel Magdalena. Darryl is, of course, happily married, as is Magdalena. Further, Darryl CLAIMS that the filming was hard work. Hey, bet there are a lot of guys out there who would like to nab that job!
Speaking of Changes Dept.: Chely Wright is another country-music artist who's ready to make some changes. In fact, she just played a free show at a small Nashville venue that she called "The Artist Formerly Known as Chely." Not to worry, though she'll still do hits like "Single White Female" at her concerts. But now she's added some intense songs like "Object of Your Rejection" and "Damn Liar" to the mix.
Rough Cuts Quote of the Week: "It's about life on a tour bus. Specifically, it's about pooping on the tour bus." actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (wife of country singer Brad Paisley), on the second film she's directed, "Numero Dos," which is currently in the editing stage. Her first film, "Shade," debuted to great acclaim at the recent Nashville Film Festival.
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