CD review: Toby Keith “Hope on the Rocks”
A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my recent interview with Toby, click here.
Toby Keith “Hope on the Rocks Deluxe Edition” (Show Dog-Universal Music)
Befitting his blue-collar outlook and upbringing, Oklahoma native Toby Keith’s discography increasingly brings to mind a favored old leather jacket: sturdy, reliable and well-crafted.
The stalwart country music superstar, 51, releases an album every autumn, and the 2012 edition, “Hope on the Rocks” slips comfortably into the leather jacket analogy. It’s nothing showy or trendy, just a collection of solid, well-written country songs. The Norman resident’s baritone drawl has aged like leather, getting richer and more appealing with age.
Per usual, the Clinton-born, Oklahoma-bred wrote or co-wrote all 10 new songs — the deluxe edition adds two remixes and two live tracks — along with producing the album. He does open “Hope on the Rocks” with something completely different — a new shiny new set of buttons on the old jacket, if you will — in the title track, a mature and melancholy story-song about a bartender encountering the hurt and displaced folks that drift in and out of our lives. It doesn’t have quite the sonic punch of some of his most memorable hits, but the sad truth of it lingers.
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