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04 September 2009
<(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) When superstar performer and songwriter Toby Keith started playing a previously unheard song called "American Ride" in concert 10 weeks ago, he got an audience reaction he hadn"t seen since 2001. One week later, the song was released to radio as the first single from an upcoming album by the same name. Nine weeks after that, "American Ride" is a top 10 hit, the album release date has been advanced and media types are once again buzzing about Keith"s ability to tap the psyche of a nation.>

Like 2001's "Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)," Keith's latest finds a nation in crisis and provides in response what seems to be a cathartic release of pent up emotion through his music. At least, that appears to be the consensus of the journalistic firestorm the song and its take-no-prisoners animated video has created.

In a piece for, noted journalist Chet Flippo writes, "The video itself seems, on the surface especially on a first viewing, to be deeply political. Viewers have ultimately realized that the video was neither liberal nor conservative. It is, in fact, an equal-opportunity attack on all aspects of the political and financial establishments."

The parallels with "Courtesy" are striking. Despite the explosive political controversy that swirled around "Courtesy" and Keith, that song was never intended as a political statement. It was simply a raw, emotional response to the 9-11 tragedy written for the soldiers who were headed to war. Likewise, "American Ride" takes the economic crisis, celebrity absurdity, political dysfunction and information overload of the country's current climate and stands it on its ear.

After nine weeks, "American Ride" stands at No. 6 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, with "Courtesy" having debuted at No. 1* in the same time period. The rapid ascension of the latest single forced Keith's label Show Dog Nashville to move up the release of the American Ride album to Oct. 6. Meanwhile, Keith continues to perform the new song during his "America's Toughest Tour," drawing the kind of response after just a few short weeks that is normally reserved for his biggest, time-tested hits.


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