September 11 turned Toby Keith from harmless Nashville beefcake into an ill-tempered redneck promising tailgate justice. That transformation also made Keith one of mainstream country's biggest stars -- note the title of his latest disc, White Trash With Money. The success seems to have cooled his more hotheaded inclinations: In the only politically minded tune on White Trash, he asks -- without threat of a beatdown -- how someone "could vote to take prayer from our classrooms right when we need prayer the most."
Ironically, as Keith has gotten more likable as a human being, his work has become less interesting musically; good-times cuts like "Get Drunk and Be Somebody" and the lovesick ballad-with-strings "A Little Too Late" offer dependable Music City pleasures, but nothing you can't easily find elsewhere. Still, Keith's live show remains one of Nashville's crowd-pleasingest. Who knows? He might even trick you into pumping your fist. Lindsay Haun, who just signed with Keith's label, opens.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.