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Toby Keith - White Trash With Money 
By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

It was 1993 when I first heard him on the radio. I can't recall exactly which one of those early songs clinched it for me, but I definitely became a fan. He had this unique vocal tremor in his voice that set him apart from the rest. Although he seemed to sing effortlessly, every song was so filled to the brim with emotion that you could feel the heartbreak in some and, in others, well, who ever said that you could hear the tears in a song, must have been listening to Toby Keith back then. Over the years since, Keith has morphed and warped and altered and, some would say, faltered, in what seemed to be a quest for who he was. Well, hallelujah and praise be to heaven, it looks as though the metamorphosis is complete.

The Toby Keith that garnered a legion of devoted fans more than a decade ago has found himself again and, no doubt, many new fans will be added as a result. Time has worn the rough edges off the voice but the affecting, and endearing, tremor is better than ever. Lari White produced this album and she has managed to turn the, self proclaimed, iconoclastic mongrel into a true Show Dog and one that is destined to win many a blue ribbon with this endeavor.

Toby Keith, Scotty Emerick and Dean Dillon, individually and collectively, wrote all of the songs on this album and if you are an aspiring songwriter looking for role models; pay close attention.

The album kicks off with the rowdy "Get Drunk and Be Somebody." The song is just plain fun. I liked the song before I even listened closely to the words; it was the music that really grabbed me. As a youngster, the roller rink was a favorite place to hang out. There was nothing more cool or more fun, at the time, then gliding around the rink like you didn't have a care in the world to the rhythm of some totally fluid melody. The lyrics on this song are fun but it is the easy gliding music that got my attention and held it.

The second track, "A Little too Late," had a jump start beginning and a stalled ending but everything in between was vintage Toby and I liked it; it ended up being one of my favorite cuts.

"Can't Buy You Money" is a clever take on "money can't buy you happiness." The song is an up-tempo, feel good tune about a family who is quite happy with their lot in life despite the fact that they have few material possessions and little to no money. Just workin' hard in the land of the milk and honey / Hey all the happiness in the world can't buy you money. There is a lot of wisdom in this simple ditty.

One of the stand out tracks for me is a cut written solely by Keith; "Crash Here Tonight." It is track four. Every time I restarted it so I could review it, I would end up just listening and not writing; I simply got so lost in the voice. Toby sings, Close your eyes and hum along / And I'll sing you one more love song / If everything is still alright / Why don't you just crash here tonight. There it was in the chorus; that familiar tremor, packed with enough emotion to make you weak in the knees. No doubt, this song will be the catalyst for many a love sick listener, who will, after hearing just the first stanza and chorus, be ready to crash just about anywhere the person who loaded up the CD player, with this song, is pointing. Powerful stuff.

"Ain't No Right Way" (to do the wrong thing) is a mesmerizing musical composition with a very serious message. Perhaps one of the strengths of this particular song may well be its simplicity. This is a powerfully, and potent, harsh truth made palatable by its gentle peddle steel delivery.

There is plenty of rowdy fun on the album too. If you are looking to laugh out loud, look no further than the three new, affectionately labeled, "bus songs."

"Hell No" was my favorite; perhaps because it is the one I most readily identified with. (insert smile here) "Brand New Bow" is ... well ... I'll let you decide for yourselves. The kazoo playing on the bridge, and towards the end, should give you an indication of how tongue in cheek (pun intended) the song is.

I think this is the best, over all, album of his career. A lot of fuss is made about the need for songs to be "radio friendly." Well, I don't know how truly radio friendly this album will be but I am positive that this album is one hundred per cent listener friendly. Much has been written about Keith's split from his label in his quest to be true to himself; if this album is what happens when an artist is true to himself than we can only hope and pray that other artists will follow suit.

Toby Keith sure displays a lot of class for someone purportedly labeled "White Trash with Money." And just as there is an exception to almost every rule, in the case of this album, a little money can bring you happiness; buy it.

Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Get Drunk and Be Somebody 
2. A Little Too Late 
3. Cant Buy You Money 
4. Crash Here Tonight 
5. Grain of Salt 
6. I Aint Already There
7. Note To Self 
8. Too Far This Time 
9. Aint No Right Way 
10. Brand New Bow 
11. Hell No 
12. Runnin Block

Related Links:
TobyKeith.musiccitynetworks.com - Official Website 
Honky Tonk University - CSO Review
Shock'N Y'all - CSO Review

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Real People Reviews

Well Mr. Keith has once again pulled the rabbit out of the hat. Such a display of talent in writing and singing is amazing. There is a lot of talent in the Country Music arena, but he is number one in my book. The album "White Trash With Money" is just another credit to his account. By combining comedy, ( "Runnin Block" ), and ballads such as, ( "A Little Too Late" ) into one album has produced another winner.
Keep on keeping on Toby.
~ Charles


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