It’s autumn and around the country that means football, harvest, and a new album from Toby Keith.
Every year Toby has been releasing a new album via his own record label. The sets have been hit or miss with mostly hits over the years. In fact, Toby has been one of the most consistent artists over the last 20+ years. A few of his singles miss, but for the most part he’s consistently in the top three on the charts and usually is threatening with a number one song.
Something people seem to like about Toby is his attitude. There is evidence of his proud nature on Clancy’s Tavern, but I’ve never thought Toby was over the top with any topic he sings about. He knows who he is, he’s proud of it, and he doesn’t really care what other people think for the most part. He has his beliefs about certain things and he shares those with folks that are common thinkers.
Above all else, Toby is a great song craftsman. He understands the importance of a great melody and he knows how to fit great country stories around those melodies.
Toby is a legend in country music and it’s always great when he releases a new album.
Clancy’s Tavern – Toby Keith
As a collection this is probably Toby’s best album in the last few years. And those albums have been pretty good so the fact that Clancy’s Tavern is a step above is saying something. Toby has made no bones about his album release process. He says he always plans to put out a new album every year. He focuses hard on two to three singles from each. He writes about a dozen or so songs each year and those are the ones that make it on the record. There is usually no set theme for the albums, but a few topics are usually found. Toby is a proud man. He loves his family, his country, and his fellow human beings. The person Toby is makes for great music and this is a great collection of songs.
1. Made In America
It was the lead off single from the album. Made In America brought Toby back to the top of the country singles charts. People seemed to connect to the story about a family that was proud to be made in America. The country is their home. They’re proud of the folks that work hard every day to make things in this country and provide for their fellow countrymen and women. It’s a catchy song and really got Toby back on track with his singles.
2. I Need To Here A Country Song
This one has a cool melody. It sounds like something from the ’70s or ’80s. Toby always has one foot back in the traditional times. He doesn’t alway s stay there, but when he brings in a song like this it’s cool to hear. Toby sings about the old time country songs on this one and I think it works. There is no one better these days to call back old time country than Toby. He’s been at the top for 20 years after all.
3. Clancy’s Tavern
The title track is my favorite song on this record. It’s a mid-tempo song where Toby tells the story of a gal named Clancy. She’s the owner of a popular tavern. She’s works hard each day; her and her waitresses and bartenders as they serve the local hard working folks. Folks in this country work hard and they enjoy spending time with each other. It’s great to have people like Clancy and their establishments. They bring folks of all backgrounds together.
4. Tryin’ To Fall In Love
The beat picks up fast with Tryin’ To Fall In Love. It’s the story about all the guys that drink a little too much and are working hard to try and find the love of their lives. These guys do all they can, but they keep falling and failing. There’s only a little hope for these guys as they struggle with love. Perhaps they’re destined for failure in love. Some of us are just made that way.
5. Just Another Sundown
Things slow way down for this sundown. There are two people seeing the sun go down and they’re looking for each other. There used to be love there that was going to last forever. Now forever is here and it’s gone. They couple is broken up and going their separate ways. They’re watching the sun go down on their lives…at least their lives together.
6. Beers Ago
Here’s a rocking track. Beers Ago is about those guys that love to have a few drinks and forget some things. Some of us have had that kind of past. We’ve drank too many beers and when people bring up all the stuff we did back then all we can say is that it was many beers ago. Sure the times were fun and it’s good to look back, but it’s also good to move on at some point. I like this song. It’s up tempo and fun. It could be a single.
7. South Of You
From what I gather, Toby co-wrote this song with Eddy Raven, country legend. It’s got that Gulf of Mexico sound and feel. It’s the story of a broken hearted man and his quest to find the love he has lost. The melody is the star here. It sounds like a song from the ’80s. There is a haunting sound in the background and it’s really appealing. This is a hidden gem on this song. I’m sure Toby might try to get this one out on radio. It’d be great to have Eddy back in the mainstream.
8. Club Zydeco Moon
Here’s the funky track from the album. Club Zydeco Moon is the story of a man and a woman. She’s a dancer. He’s one of the patrons in the establishment. The images are strong. You can’t help but see yourself sitting in the bar watching this story unfold. This is a great song that you wouldn’t really expect from anyone else besides Toby Keith. Once again, he’s all about telling the story and not really caring what people think. This song is a risk, but this is what country used to be all about back in the old days.
9. I Won’t Let You Down
Here’s one of the other ballads on the record. There aren’t too many and I’ve always liked that about Toby. He keeps things chill for the most part. He tells stories and writes songs that guys and country gals can love. This is a good one, though. The song is a promise to the girl this guy loves. He doesn’t have much, but he promises to give her all he’s got. He knows things will work out. They have love.
10. Red Solo Cup
This track is going to throw the general country audience for a loop. Only Toby Keith could release this song and get away with it. The song is the next single from the record. I think it’s great. It’s about those great little cups you see at parties and outings. Red Solo Cup is a bit ridiculous, but so is Toby. The Warren Brothers wrote this track with Jim and Brett Beavers. It’s the only track Toby didn’t write on the record. It’s fun. Don’t over think it and I know you’ll find it to be great. Just enjoy this one.
Scotty Emerick is back on this record. He co-wrote this song and the earlier title track. I’m not sure if these are songs from Toby and Scotty’s collaborations five years ago or what, but it’s always great to hear songs these two have written together. To finish out the record part of the album Toby goes laid back. The song is about chilling out and recharging. Sometimes we get overworked and overplayed in life. We need a little chill time and this song sets the tone perfectly. Ever the businessman, Toby throws in a little shout out to his new business venture – Wild Shot. I haven’t tried it yet, but the new Mezcal is sure to be tasty.
Bonus Live Tracks
What’s becoming my favorite part of Toby’s latest albums is when he lays down some live covers. For the last couple albums Toby takes some classic rock and country songs and records them live at his shows. He puts them on the deluxe packages of his albums and it makes it worth paying an extra buck or so. The live tracks on Clancy’s Tavern are no different. They’re great.
12. High Time (You Quite Your Lowdown Ways)
Toby pulls off Waylon as well as anyone can these days. No one will ever replace Waylon and Toby certainly doesn’t try. Toby does his own thing on this classic and it works really well. The song has a cool melody that makes you smile and tap your foot along the entire time. Waylon always had a way of picking songs that had great melodies. That’s something he and Toby have in common. This is a great live track from Toby.
13. Truck Drivin’ Man
Truck Drivin’ Man was written and recorded by Terry Fell in 1954. Buck Owens later recorded a version. Trucking has long been a staple of American history. For decades trucks drove everything across this great nation. I think Toby’s paying a little respect to those good folks out there hitting the roads and getting things where they need to go.
Three Dog Night took this song to the top three on the charts back in 1973. It’s kind of a forgotten classic until you hear it on the radio and realize you know all the words…kind of. Toby puts his stamp on the song with plenty of attitude on the lyrics and the notes. He pulls off the ooo’s well and the songs is a hit with the crowd. I love that Toby can step out of his comfort zone for songs like this. He’s hitting up in that falsetto. Great stuff.
Chuck Berry wrote and recorded this song way back in 1963. The song is a classic on the oldies and classic rock stations. If you grew up listening to music from the ’60s (or if you have parents that did like me) you’ll recognize this classic. Toby does a great job. His booming lyrics hit home on every note and the saxophones add a little extra interest to the song. That’s one thing Toby has been doing for a few years – adding saxophones to his songs. It’s something not everyone does, but Toby makes it work. This is a rocking way to end a track.
Download Clancy’s Tavern
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