Toby Keith Takes a Musically Diverse ‘Ride’
Toby Keith's current single and title track from his latest album, 'American Ride,' is the singer's 10th chart-topper and the fastest-rising single in his 16-year career. And even though it's the only song on the album that he didn't write, Toby is honored to be the voice behind the message.
"The beauty of the song, it talks about all this crap you watch every day, these pandemic news stories on these entertainment shows now instead of the national news," Toby tells CMT. "You know, Michael Jackson died, and 21 days later, you're still listening to what his doctor's next door neighbor said he saw 16 years ago. And you're like, 'Let the guy rest in peace.'"
"And all this stuff is coming," Toby continues. "The swine flu and SARS. ... Iran is getting a bomb, global warming. You just hear so much of that. ... And that's what it's making fun of."
Known for both comedic and aggressive lyrics, Toby shows his softer side with 'Cryin' for Me,' written as a tribute for his close friend, NBA player and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale, who passed away after a battle with bone cancer. Joined by jazz greats Dave Koz and Marcus Miller on that emotion-filled track, Toby also added a blues-inspired song to the album, 'If You're Tryin', You Ain't,' an even further departure from the sound for which he's best known. While fans may be surprised to hear the diversity on the album, Toby insists it's only natural, considering his musical tastes.
"I'm influenced by all kinds of music," he says. "I have a very diverse iPod. You never know if I've got it on shuffle You never know what you are going to hear next. I like all genres. If it's good, then I like it. I'm into hip-hop, rap, country, blues, gospel, old school, new school ... whatever ... pop. If it's really good, I like it. I don't have to be told what to listen to. If I like it and it's good, I'll listen to it. Having that background, knowing so many songs, it keeps me from staying stale and playing the same thing."