Toby Keith is back with a new album, Hope on the Rocks , in stores this week. It features 10 songs all written or co-written by Toby himself, and he's learned over the years his fans don't like it when he sings other people's words. There is the rare exception, like last year's hit "Red Solo Cup," but Toby can point to another multi-week #1 hit, called "My List," as an example of his point.
Toby didn't write that song, and it ended up having an adverse effect on his album sales and crowd response during shows.
Toby says, "It was a radio smash, and it sold the fewest amount of albums that we sold during a five- or six-year span." As for his live performance of the song, he adds, "It didn't get the buzz that the other songs in the set got."
Once he finally learned that lesson, Toby realized many of his country heroes -- like Johnny Cash , Merle Haggard , Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton -- all wrote most of their own songs too. Toby thinks the fans connectwith artists who sing their own material.
"Fans can sink their teeth into something if you write it," he says, "because after years of writing, they think they know you by your words."
Toby is currently climbing the country chart with his latest single, "I Like Girls That Drink Beer," the lead single from Hope on the Rocks .
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