Album Info

August 31, 2009
Show Dog Nashville
Country, Contemporary Country

Album Review

With most contemporary country artists, you could guarantee that a song called "American Ride" would be a slice of jingoism, but Toby Keith isn't like most country singers. His "American Ride" casts a cynical eye at desperate housewives and wannabe pop stars, not celebrating down-home values but wondering where we're all headed on this American Ride at the end of the 2000s, a sentiment not all that far removed form some of Keith's previous social commentary, which makes it a mild surprise that it is the only song here that doesn't come from his own pen. As superb and striking as it is, it's not necessarily a good keystone for the rest of the record, which does have a few tougher numbers that pick up on the lean, mean vibe of 2008's That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy -- "Every Dog Has Its Day," the sly "If I Had One," and the heavy blues stomp "Loaded" -- but spends more time on the softer side, even when he kicks up a bit of dust on the dancefloor on "You Can't Read My Mind" or does a funny, respectful salute to military life on "Ballad of Balad." In other words, the real touchstone for the rest of the record is "Tender as I Wanna Be," where he lets his guard down and lets the romance flow. This doesn't turn American Ride into a schizophrenic jumble, as Keith has always balanced these two extremes, but after spending a little bit more time swaggering than wooing, he's back to crooning and it's amiable and appealing, if not overwhelming.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. American Ride
  2. Gypsy Driftin'
  3. Are You Feelin' Me
  4. Every Dog Has Its Day
  5. Woke Up on My Own
  6. If You're Tryin' You Ain't
  7. Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)
  8. If I Had One
  9. You Can't Read My Mind
  10. Tender as I Wanna Be
  11. Loaded
  12. Ballad of Balad