Singer-songwriter to be Inducted Into Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Singer, songwriter, and entertainer Toby Keith will release his first all-new Show Dog Nashville album in more than five years tomorrow, on October 15. Peso In My Pocket was co-produced by Kenny Greenberg and Keith, and features the highest Billboard/Country Airplay chart debut of his career with the lead single, "Old School" which continues to climb up the charts.
Though Keith has accomplished much since the 2015 release of 35 MPH Town - perhaps most notably in writing the Clint Eastwood inspired "Don't Let The Old Man In" - a new studio album was long overdue. And Peso In My Pocket has more than a little to do with the worldwide pandemic. "My whole musical career, I haven't been off the road this long," Keith says, calling 2020 "a reset button I never would have hit."
photographer - Richard McLaren
Also deserving of credit for the collection is Mexico, where Keith has a house he stayed at for the first several months of the crisis. "It was like being on the moon," he says. "A lot of my friends down there were afraid they wouldn't be let back in the U.S., so they all went home. I wasn't on the road and nobody could go anywhere, so I thought, 'You've written a long list of songs by yourself, dumbass. Get up and get busy!' I went through the ideas I keep on my phone and thought, 'Shit, I need to write these.'"
Not only did he come to the table with more than a few songwriting pesos in his pocket, he added outside contributors to the mix. Notable songwriting credits include The Warren Brothers, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Jesse Jo Dillon, Brett Tyler, and Sammy Hagar. Keb Mo joined Keith in the studio on a cover of his "Old Me Better," as did well-known Oklahoma artist Mike Hosty, whose "Oklahoma Breakdown" kicks off the album. Keith also offers a tribute to the late John Prine on the Prine-John Mellencamp co-write "Take A Look At My Heart." And, of course, the 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has several solo writes, led by the title track.
As Show Dog gears up for the album's release, Keith resumed touring on his Country Comes To Town Tour. He also received the Academy of Country Music's prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award in August for "following his own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle's spirit." Keith received the National Medal of Arts earlier this year. He is being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this November. And in June he raised another $1.4 million to help sick children and their families in Oklahoma through his OK Kids Korral.
The album is available for pre-order at orcd.co/pesoinmypocket, along with instant grat tracks - "Old School," "Oklahoma Breakdown," "Happy Birthday America," and "Old Me Better."
Peso In My Pocket track listing (songwriter credit):
1. Oklahoma Breakdown (Michael Hosty)
2. Peso In My Pocket (Toby Keith)
3. Old School (Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Brett Tyler)
4. Old Me Better (Kevin R. Moore, John Lewis Parker)
5. Days I Shoulda Died (Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Jessie Jo Dillon)
6. Growing Up Is A Bitch (Toby Keith, Sammy Hagar)
7. She's Drinkin' Again (Toby Keith)
8. Thunderbird (Toby Keith)
9. Take A Look At My Heart (John Mellencamp, John Prine)
10. Happy Birthday America (Toby Keith)
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Toby Keith on "Old School" (songwriters - Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Brett Tyler):
"When I first heard the demo, it reminded me of Steve Miller, but then it had a little of a rap to it – not unlike the can of worms I opened years ago with 'I Wanna Talk About Me.' Then it's got the coolest melodic waterfall and I was like, 'Yeah, I gotta cut this.' And it really speaks to the message of this album because that's exactly what we're doing. We're coming out old school."
Toby Keith on "Happy Birthday America" (songwriter - Toby Keith):
"I'm standing on the back of one of a thousand boats tied together on the Fourth of July, 2020. A local radio station is blaring from every one of them because they synchronize the music with the fireworks. The guy who owns the big cruiser I'm on asks me which of my songs I think they'll play and when. And I said, 'If they play "Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue," they'll probably play a few things – Lee Greenwood and such – and wait to play mine once they're really rolling. First time they completely fill the sky.' Sure enough, I'm the third song. Everybody on the lake is singing, boats are honking and it's been a really screwed up year. My buddy looks at me and says, 'Happy Fourth of July, Big Dog.' I said, 'Happy birthday, America. Whatever's left of you.' And then I was like, 'I need to write that.'
"I don't watch the news that much, but I read some things and was seeing both sides having concern over the end of democracy. We've fought and divided almost to the point it's only about power and winning. Charlie Daniels had a song saying 'God save us all from religion.' And I'm thinking, God save us all from politicians. Going to vote has become the lesser of two evils. It's not about having the best person, it's about throwing in the hammer. For 240 years, people have fought and made this the fastest rising country in the world and the best place to live. I've been to all of 'em – I know. We're the best there's ever been by a mile and it's going to take the kind of fight we've had making it and defending it to get that back if we continue to let it corrode.
I got it done and thought it was about right, but going in the studio I knew the political lean in there would be a lot more liberal. So when it hit that line about the broken down cities by the left's design, I could see the breath-holding. Then I hit 'em with the 'right can't get it right' and everyone exhaled. 'Oh, he's pissin' on all of them. Okay.' Then they were fine with it. Politics has been a shit-show for 15 or 20 years and you almost can't get anyone to admit that their side has been as much a part of it as the other. If we're divided to the point we can't even discuss it, we're not going to get anywhere."
Toby Keith on "Oklahoma Breakdown" (songwriter - Michael Hosty):
"A singer-songwriter around my hometown does a bunch of songs with some local flair. He's got one about being in love with one of the local TV news anchors and one about tornado shelters called 'Fraidy Hole,' which is how country people refer to them.
"Before I went to Mexico, Mike was playing somewhere and I saw him do it, so it reminded me. The song has some miles on it, so I called him and asked if he wanted to play on it if I cut it. I figured everyone in that part of the world would get a kick out of him being on the record. So that's him on rhythm and that slide solo.
"Kenny Greenberg had no idea about this song's history, so he heard it different from the original. He wanted the guitar lick to echo the vocal. I had trouble getting my brain around that, but it kept growing on me. Now it all makes sense. And that's what you want a co-producer to do. I've got my ideas for structure, background vocals and some of that intricate stuff, but a guy like Kenny who has been playing guitar in the studio for years is trying to make the music hook as much as the lyrics do. I rode with him on it and it worked."
Toby Keith on "Old Me Better" (songwriters - Kevin R. Moore, John Lewis Parker):
"Three years ago, journalist Robert K. Oermann sent my manager an email saying he was listening to this Keb Mo song and couldn't get the idea of me singing it out of his head. So my manager sent it to me. A couple weeks later I was idle somewhere, grabbed my phone looking for something to do and saw the email. Hit the play button and thought, 'This is really good and different.'
"You'd be surprised how many people tell me stuff like, 'We saw you in St. Joe, Missouri in 1995. We're huge fans, but we love your old stuff better.' You want to say, 'If I kept doing the old stuff I'd still be an opening act.' The stuff that built my first fan base – the first five albums – doesn't sound like the next five. But you have to keep growing. Anyway, it's a good song ... and funny. Like when he says, 'I'm sitting here, looking back, wearing this stupid sweater. I like the old me better.'
"We did the beer bottle and trash can percussion, had Keb come in and do some guitar work on it and I brought in some great gospel singers. We had fun. I was listening to them singing the bridge when I came up with the 'ahs' behind it. I told Kenny to run it back, then sang it so they could do that part. Pretty sure this is my wife's favorite song."