About The Artist
The Set List
Wal-Mart Soundcheck recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to get a taste of true Southern hospitality and sit in with Toby Keith for an exclusive sneak peak performance of his new record, 'Big Dog Daddy.'
Toby couldn't be more at home here than if he were in his boyhood living room in Oklahoma listening to his Momma whistling Patsy Cline, or singing along to Merle Haggard or any of the other Western Swing he credits as his most important musical influence.
He has held tight to a guitar since the age of eight, and the two are like old friends. When they get together, you get a sense that there's something going on that's stronger than just the music. For Toby, "It's a creative process that goes on, and the highs you get from that, and getting to walk on that stage every night and hear that thunder." He and his guitar are grateful they found each other. "It's beautiful to have that job. It's a great job to have," Toby tells us.
A Man of His Convictions: On Politics
Toby has become almost as famous for the chords he strikes in politics as the ones on his guitar. And even though 'Big Dog Daddy' is less confrontational than his earlier stuff, he still brings his convictions to the stage. "I get roped into these political arguments, but the truth is, I don't see things right or left," says Keith. "I see them right or wrong." A lot of that comes out on the stage, and he is proud of it. "You know, I'm pro-troops, but I'm not pro-war," says Toby. His new single, 'Love Me If You Can,' touches on these subjects but calls a truce by agreeing to disagree. "I'm a man of my convictions, call me wrong, call me right," lets us know Toby's not backing down.
Running With the 'Big Dog Daddy': On Touring
Toby is all set to kick off his summer tour, and he wants "all the warriors in full costume at the tailgate party." This exclusive performance is a tease of the tour to come, and is sure to "have 'em all screaming from here to Cincinnati." Toby loves stepping out on that stage and would play for fans every day. He says of the things he needs most on the road, "my songwriting would be one of them. I'd have to have my guitar to do that, and my fans."
Pick of the Litter: On 'Big Dog Daddy'
Soundcheck couldn't help but notice just how proud Toby Keith is of 'Big Dog Daddy.' He's like a new father talking about the record, and he has reason to brag: it's the first completely by him. That is a huge feat in today's music industry. "By. As in sung by, written by, released by, produced by..." Toby reminds us. Oh, and he even sang his own harmonies.
And up on that stage, Keith is true to the classic country sound he owns, and he also adds a new slant. Toby talks about the record having "a couple of things that were going to be really rock-edged, kind of a southern rock and blues thing." It works and he has the Soundcheck studio stompin' with a bark just as strong as his bite.
Not only is Toby Keith the ultimate showman, he's about as down-to-earth as any artist we've had here at Soundcheck. He obviously heeds his own advice, "Don't compromise. Even if it hurts to be yourself."
So enjoy the show, and pick up a copy of the new record.
'Til next time.
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck
- Toby Keith used to play semi-professional football for the Oklahoma City Drillers
- Keith opened the hugely popular "I Love This Bar and Grill" in Las Vegas, as well as one in his home state, Oklahoma
- Toby's currently writing a script based on his and Willie Nelson's hit 'Beer for My Horses'
- Toby is featured on the 1996 Beach Boys record 'Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1,' which is now out of print
- A flight attendant and fan of Toby's music passed a demo tape to the right passenger, Mercury Records Executive, Harold Shedd. The rest, as they say, is history.
- Toby not only appears in the movie 'Broken Bridges' with Burt Reynolds and Kelly Preston, he also wrote the soundtrack
In case we didn't already know, Toby reminds us that "A high maintenance woman don't want no maintenance man." The closest he's getting to this dating pool is cleaning it. Starting the show with this song sets a tone of fun that rubs off on everyone, and by the end we are convinced he could actually get this "baby doll, beauty queen, movie star" to go out with him.
Love Me If You Can
Toby brings us out of the apartment complex and back to the Soundcheck stage in the sweet, slow ballad 'Love Me If You Can.' His voice is even stronger than his convictions as he chooses his guitar as his weapon for this ballad of truce. "You might not like where I'm going, but you sure know where I stand," Toby sings. You can feel the political charge during this song, even though Keith is clearly ready to "agree to disagree."
Toby has a way of placing you right in the parking lot of the now abandoned White Rose filling station - the nostalgia in this song fills up every tank. Back when the "gas was fifty cents a gallon," and "they put it in for you," takes us back to a time when a new filling station could open up in town and bring the neon promise of a new era. It breaks our heart to hear Toby's heart breaking when he sings about "plywood for glass, where the windows all got smashed."
Big Dog Daddy
After slowing things down for a bit, Toby really turns up the attitude and the beat when he kicks into title track, 'Big Dog Daddy.' He's not lying when he says, "the joint starts rocking when we walk in the place." It's the perfect song to end a perfect performance.