Whatever you think of Toby Keith, you can’t deny that he’s a Country music legend. With a career that began in the early 90s, Keith has released 20 studio albums and a whopping 64 singles to date. That’s an impressive achievement for any artist and while Keith’s commercial success may have dwindled in more recent years, he’s still a big draw on the live circuit and his fanbase is pretty hardcore. Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years pulls together a selection of his singles from his time releasing on his own label Show Dog. That spans from 2006 to the present day.
Your opinion of Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years will very much depend on your opinion on Toby Keith. He’s always stuck to a more traditional sound, resisting the urge to try and sound like the acts that are currently finding success at radio. For that you have to admire him but for me, Keith is an act that deserves a lot of respect even if I’m not the biggest fan of most of his music.
Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years features four new tracks kicking off with the recent single That’s Country Bro. Aside from the cringeworthy title, the song jumps on the current trend of naming as many Country artists as possible in a bid to prove your credentials. Keith is better than that and this song sticks out like a sore thumb. Much better is the bluesy-infused Back in the 405, which was co-written with Colt Ford, or the sensitive Don’t Let the Old Man In from Clint Eastwood’s film The Mule.
Of the older material, Keith barely moves away from his core themes of beer, patriotism and women. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with any of those themes, it doesn’t make for the most varied of listens when you have his songs collected in a Greatest Hits format. Beers Ago and Red Solo Cup are fun enough but they aren’t going to be remembered as classics in years to come.
I prefer my Keith showing a little more introspection and emotional awareness. Hope on the Rocks allows his drawl to hang on the verses before packing a punch on the chorus. One of the standout moments is Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song) where Keith gets rid of the bluster and bravado, and delivers a good old-fashioned Country song. 2008’s She Never Cried in Front Of Me is another highlight that shows there’s much more to Keith’s talent than resorting to his three core themes.
Honestly, if you’ve never been a Toby Keith fan this collection isn’t going to persuade you. His fans will lap it up, loving the chance to revisit these songs but non-fans or casual listeners will struggle to find much here. As I said earlier, I have huge respect for Toby Keith but personally this isn’t how I like my Country music.
Track list: 1. That’s Country Bro 2. Made in America 3. Beers Ago 4. Red Solo Cup 5. American Ride 6. Don’t Let the Old Man In 7. God Love Her 8. Hope on the Rocks 9. Trailerhood 10. Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song) 11. She Never Cried In Front Of Me 12. High Maintenance Woman 13. Love Me If You Can 14. Lost You Anyway 15. Back in the 405 16. American Ride (Official Remix) Released by: Show Dog LLC Release date: 25th October 2019 Buy Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years