Album Spotlight: Toby Keith, ‘Drinks After Work’
The opening track on Toby Keith‘s ‘Drinks After Work’ album sets the tone for a mostly hard-rockin’ ride that’s full of attitude. Sure, that describes many of the singer’s best songs, but as a producer, he makes subtle changes to give this collection of songs its own space.
“Progressive” is a good word to describe ‘Shut Up and Hold On.’ Fans will recognize the cadence of his early lyrics, but after the first few lines the guitars kick in, and then a harmonica covers him up. The song has teeth.
In fact, the first four all have bite, although the title track’s chomp is more of a nibble by comparison. If you’re looking for big ballads, you’ll find only one on the standard edition of ‘Drinks After Work.’ ‘The Other Side of Him’ is a piano-driven, throaty heartbreaker that breaks up the tempo before the peppy, bluegrass cut ‘Last Living Cowboy.’
Skip forward to ‘Hard Way to Make an Easy Living’ to find this album’s ‘Hope on the Rocks.’ It’s the most lyrically significant track of the first 10, with only ‘Chuckie’s Gone’ coming close on the deluxe edition. Many of the others — ‘Show Me What You’re Workin’ With,’ ‘I’ll Probably Be Out Fishin’ — are fluffy and fun. ‘Call a Marine’ is one that’s sure to get the crowd fired up next summer.
Tracks to Remember: ‘Shut Up and Hold On,’ ‘Last Living Cowboy,’ ‘Hard Way to Make an Easy Living’
Chuckie’s Gone: Keith sure knows how to put his tears on paper. ‘Chuckie’s Gone’ follows ‘Cryin’ For Me’ as a beautiful tribute to a man he was close to. “I hope you find peace from your pain / Must have been like a hurricane / So, fly away with all I love / Sure wish you didn’t need that stuff,” Keith sings with brutal honesty.
Did You Know?: That’s Sammy Hagar singing with Keith on ‘Margaritaville.’ The two musicians and entrepreneurs are friends and have turned up at each other’s shows frequently over the past year. Keith also appeared on Hagar’s recent album, singing — you guessed it — ‘Margaritaville.’