Toby Keith‘s summer is shaping up to be a busy one. Currently on the road headlining the Hammer Down Tour, he’s also preparing for his star-studded Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert, which will be held July 6 at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, in Norman, Okla, where Keith lives. Tickets for the concert, which benefit The United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund, went on sale last Friday (June 21) and sold out quickly.
And of course he’s also finishing work on another album, which is currently planned for release this fall. The first single from the as-yet-untitled album, “Drinks After Work,” is just digital outlets today.
“There’s never been a theme for an album,” Keith tells Radio.com in an interview conducted last Friday (June 21). “I write all year long, and somewhere around March or April I go into the studio and start cutting. I never really know what I’ve got until I get there.”
So where is he at with the next album? “I’ve got a lot of stuff recorded, and then I have a bunch of stuff I have to go and record, and then I’ll pick 10 or 12 out.”
He goes on to describe a handful of the new songs.
There’s a song called ‘Before We Knew They Were Good,’” says Keith. “It’s about kids growing up becoming special people in life.” Another one is called “Last Living Cowboy In This Town,” which he says “is more along the stuff that I normally do. Talking about this old man that’s in the modern day, and he’s still hanging on to the last century values and fashion, and it’s comical.”
There are also “a couple of love ballads” and–possibly at least–a duet with the man behind “Margaritaville.”
“I don’t know if its going to make this album, but I just did a duet with Jimmy Buffett on his album called ‘Too Drunk To Karaoke.’ That’s a crazy party song for him.” (The song is scheduled to appear on Buffett’s upcoming collection Songs From St. Somewhere, due for release August 20).
And of course there’s “Drinks After Work,” Keith’s newest single, which is just beginning to make waves among country fans. With its curiously upbeat ’80s-pop arrangement, it doesn’t sound like a typical ‘Toby Keith song.’ But that different sound is part of what attracted him to it.
“Every once in a while I’ll step out and do something crazy if it’s a great song,” say Keith. “This just landed in my lap, and I didn’t even know if we would get a good cut on it because it was so different. It just bloomed in the studio, and when we got done they said, ‘You have to pick a single.’ I had a deadline to meet, and I had a few things in front of me that I really liked, and I said, ‘This one sounds like summertime to me, let’s go with this.’”