Whereas labels and artists have decided to move what used to be a six month cycle to two years or more, Toby has stuck to his guns about getting a new album in the hands of his hardcore audience each and every year. Hope On The Rocks is 2012′s album and it has the burden of following up the critically-acclaimed and Gold-selling Clancy’s Tavern, a record which featured a #1 hit, the viral multi-platinum “Red Solo Cup” and Top 5 “Beers Ago.” Hope On The Rocks is a lean 10 track collection and for my money, it’s a great mixture of classic Toby Keith sounds on songs like “Haven’t Seen The Last Of You” (one of six tracks co-written with Bobby Pinson), the title track – and next single – (Think “Dream Walkin’” era), and “The Size I Wear” (written with Rivers Rutherford) to more interesting, exploratory tracks like the bluesy rocker “Scat Cat” and the progressive, melodic and lyrically strong “Get Got,” a song which should be a single at some point.
There is a good amount of ‘drinkin’ songs on here like another the bluesy truckin’ song “Haven’t Had A Drink All Day,” the lead single “I Like Girls That Drink Beer,” and “Cold Beer Country.” These are all Bobby Pinson co-writes with the latter begin an idea that was started by Trailer Choir’s Marc “Butter” Fortney. It’s a jovial little party tune with an off-beat vibe and Jim Hoke’s clarinet bringing a little jazzy feel to the track. The Deluxe edition of the record includes four special tracks including interesting dance mixes of “Beers Ago” and “Red Solo Cup” and live cuts of “Whiskey Girl” and “Get Out Of My Car,” a song from Clancy’s Tavern that has become a live staple this past year.
Hope On The Rocks is exactly the kind of fun album I’ve come to expect from Toby Keith, it’s also never over-produced or feeling like a record that was made to just be a couple radio singles and filler. It feels like a cohesive album and ranks right up there with Toby’s best. Hopefully more labels will see the value in releasing new albums every year again as it certainly seems to be working for Toby Keith.
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