Toby Keith American Ride
October 9, 2009, 4:50 pm
Filed under: 1

From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.

Country

Toby Keith “American Ride” (Show Dog Nashville)

Prolific country superstar Toby Keith confidently and capably cruises through romantic ballads, funny party songs and brash social commentary on his new album “American Ride.”

The Norman resident already has topped the country charts with the buzz-generating title track, a frank and foot-stomping critique of American culture, from lawsuits and plastic surgery to terrorism and YouTube. While Joe West and Dave Pahanish penned “American Ride,” Keith wrote or co-wrote the remaining 11 tracks.

The Oklahoma native keeps the toe-tapping tempo and showcases his sharp sense of humor with “If I Had One” and “Every Dog Has Its Day.” He augments his favored steel guitars and fiddles with blues-rock flourishes on the party song “Loaded” and the motivational “If You’re Tryin’ You Ain’t.”

He pays humorous and sympathetic tribute to the troops with “Ballad to Balad,” inspired by his latest United Service Organization Tour of Iraq, and exudes affectionate desire on the good-natured two-stepper “You Can’t Read My Mind.”

Those who are willing to look beyond Keith’s bold, often controversial persona know he excels as a balladeer, and his new album rides highest in its softer moments. He convincingly tells the tale of a ne’er-do-well seeing the error of his ways in the affecting “Woke up on My Own,” then delivers unabashed romance with “Tender as I Want to Be.”

But the album’s highlight is “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song),” Keith’s moving and musically fitting tribute to his friend Wayman Tisdale, the basketball-star-turned-jazz-bassist who died in May after a long cancer battle.

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