Tenn.) When you work the road as hard as singer, songwriter and
entertainer Toby Keith does, you have to find ways to blow off steam.
Late nights, long hours on the highway, an extra beer or two and
noodling around on the guitar with friends can inspire some rather
unusual compositions. Toby calls them "bus songs" and they"ve become a
staple of his albums, not to mention fan favorites.
For the Oct. 5 release Bullets In The Gun,
the traditional track 10 slot is occupied by "Get Outta My Car," which
urges a fence-sitting date to, well, get on with it or .... The song
builds on the fine and funny traditions of songs like "Weed With Willie"
and "Brand New Bow." "If you look back through my albums, you'll
see what I want out of the No. 10 cut," Keith says. "Last album it was
'Ballad Of Balad,' which is the biggest song I ever wrote overseas. That
thing goes over like hotcakes over there. But that's the idea. If
people are still listening, they get a little extra shot of fun."
Of course, Bullets
pulls the trigger on a lot more fun in its Deluxe Edition, which
includes the first Incognito Bandito live recordings Keith has ever
released. Four songs – Johnny Paycheck's "11 Months And 29 Days," Waylon
Jennings' "I've Been A Long Time Leaving (But I'll Be A Long Time
Gone)," Roger Miller's "Chug-A-Lug" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" –
were recorded at Keith's June "Incognito Bandito" show in Manhattan.
if I paid you guys good and we went out and played some high-profile
bars?'" Keith says, recalling his query to the studio musicians who were
playing the Bullets sessions.
"Now, this is a band that rehearsed in Nashville then met me at the
Fillmore in New York. They set up, we ran through them quick as we could
in a little sound check, then we got up in front of the world and said,
'Here we are.'"
Toby Keith would fearlessly jump onstage in the media capital of the
world for a rather impromptu show – and that he would have the guts to
put some of those recordings on an album – speaks to his raw musicality.
That some late night joking around results in some of his most beloved
songs further cements his status as an unparalleled song man with an
innate ability to communicate with his audience.
But after 17 years of unrelenting hits, maybe that shouldn't come as a surprise. The next chapter bows Oct. 5.