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Bullets In the Gun

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Album Review

Aggressive though the title may be, Bullets in the Gun winds up being the Toby Keith album with the lightest touch since 2006’s White Trash with Money. A light touch doesn’t mean Keith has lost his swagger: Bullets still pulses with testosterone — flirting with misogyny in the dirty jokes of “Get Out of My Car,” Keith redeeming himself with his bawdy humor — but it also swings, easing into the bluesy gait of “Think About You All of the Time” and rocking & rolling through “Drive it On Home,” catching its breath on “Somewhere Else” while admiring the colorful characters dotting the “Trailerhood.” Excepting the too-cool commercial sheen of “Kissin’ in the Rain,” there are no unexpected left turns on the album, but Keith is so firmly within his wheelhouse that he’s comfortable enough to take his time and have some fun, never laboring too hard — as he sometimes did on the perfectly fine but mildly perfunctory American Ride — but not getting lazy, either. It’s a lean, tight record that takes its time but doesn’t dawdle, it has the easy confidence of a pro who knows that he’s working at the top of his game. [Bullets in the Gun is expanded by four live covers in its Deluxe Edition: a rip-roaring version of Johnny Paycheck's “11 Months & 29 Days,” a long ramble through Waylon Jennings' “Waymore’s Blues” — credited as “I’ve Been a Long Time Leaving (But I’ll Be a Long Time Gone)" on the album cover, for some reason — a rollicking take on Roger Miller’s “Chug a Lug,” and a slow-rolling version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown.”]

Biography

Born: 08 July 1961 in Clinton, OK

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Toby Keith spent the '90s as a solid, workmanlike country star who met with considerable chart success, yet never quite broke free of the neo-traditionalist pack to become a household name like Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson. That all changed in 2002 when he recorded "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," a response to September 11 that became one of country's most highly charged political statements since Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee." The media furor ensured that even...
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Bullets In the Gun, Toby Keith
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