Building an unparalleled musical legacy, a vibrant career at the top levels of entertainment and a business empire worthy of a Forbes cover isn't easy, but it's not complicated either. In Toby Keith's case, there's genius in the simplicity. His new album “Drinks After Work” is another perfect example of how a big project like an album – not to mention a seemingly boundless and diverse brand – can be boiled down to a few timeless truths about hard work and good times. Exceptions prove every rule, however, and Keith is certainly not immune to life's harsh realities when the spotlight dims and storm clouds rise – as they did unmercifully in 2013.


The balance of the album celebrates life's peaks, however, and that's no accident as Keith's music has increasingly become a reflection of his live shows. He and his tight band of co-writers – Scotty Emerick, Bobby Pinson and Rivers Rutherford – do most of their work on the road, grabbing guitars and putting words to music during downtime between concerts.


"People ask why we write so many songs about drinking and partying," he says. "Well, when we’re writing, that’s what we’re doing. We’re out on the road working, but we’re festive. If we were stuck in a cabin for a week hunting or something, you might write about being away from the party. But when you're on the road, you've got this crowd and you’re presenting a party to them, it’s really hard not to get caught up in that and keep it fun. I like having a lot of that on my albums; when they turn it on, I want them to smile."


And smile they have, propelling Keith to rarified air as one of the most successful songwriter/artists of all time with more than 80 million broadcast performances of his work and 32 #1 singles. Arguably, he's the most successful self-contained artist in country music history. And that popularity isn't limited by borders as he's toured packed European venues twice in the last few years. He's also preparing for his first tour of Australia, where he is the most-requested American country performer, recently enjoyed several high profile awards nominations and has had four hit albums in the country.


The process that has led to those hits and chart-topping albums wasn't in place from the beginning of his career, though it certainly was foreshadowed by his debut. Written solely by Keith, "Should've Been A Cowboy" rocketed to No. 1 and went on to become the most-played country song of the '90s. And while he continued to have number one after number one on the radio charts, it wasn't until the 1999 release of How Do You Like Me Now?! and concurrent departure from a label with which he was in constant conflict that he began to set a sustainable and incredibly successful creative course.


"We write all year," Toby explains. "And after about 13 years of doing it this way, it's gotten where I know going in that I'll have enough good songs to choose from. I'll spend a week with Rivers, two weeks with Bobby and two weeks with Scotty. Then I'll write some by myself. So you end up with an album-and-a-half's worth of uncut stuff ready to sort and stack. I’m always way ahead."


From the album's opening thump of "Shut Up And Hold On," Keith and co-writer Pinson evoke an arena show feel. The audience appeal is palpable, and the title track only furthers the vibe with perhaps the freshest, most unique sound from Toby in years. The only track he didn't write, the song was an unlikely stab at something very different. "[Label exec] Mark Wright was really high on this 'Drinks After Work' thing, and I didn’t know if I could cut it or not. It’s really out of the norm for me, but I told him I'd give it a run and it bloomed in the studio."


The classic Toby turn-of-phrase in "Little Miss Tear Stain" – "is never still a good time to call?" – the throwback barroom shuffle of "Last Living Cowboy" and the completely unsubtle "Show Me What You're Workin' With" keep the fun rolling. Even the coming-of-age ode "Before We Knew They Were Good," "Whole Lot More Than That" with its arresting couplets and the wry "I'll Probably Be Out Fishin'" are likely to have concertgoers raising red Solo cups in salute.


Plumbing less exuberant musical depths are the steel-drenched broken heart ballad "The Other Side Of Him" and a Toby Keith-first tribute to farmers titled "Hard Way To Make An Easy Living." But those songs only hint at the raw emotions that accompanied the making of this album.


Drinks After Work is dedicated to the memory of Keith's longtime bandleader and bass player Chuck Goff, who passed in February. Three months later, a tornado flattened much of Moore, OK, where the water tower proudly proclaims: "Moore, home of Toby Keith." Among those directly hit were Keith's sister and sister-in-law, who both experienced substantial damage to their homes.


Perhaps the best window into that sense of loss is "Chuckie's Gone," which Keith wrote by himself and included as one of three deluxe edition bonus tracks:


A twister came through our hometown, tore a lot of peoples’ houses down

That always happens in the spring, and this time you missed everything ...

Stage goes up, stage goes down, buses roll through another town

There’s words to write and gigs to play and you’ll always be a song away

Your bass is there where you used to stand, and even though we got a killer band

I still look up in the middle of the song and realize Chuckie’s gone

"It really doesn’t change the band as a group because it happened to all of us as a group," Toby says. "Everybody leaned on everybody else. We all lost the same friend out on the road. He was with us 25 years and he was my band leader. He was a really good guy and, at the end of the day, you only get to live it once, so you better live it up while you’re here."


In May, Keith rushed home to Moore from the Nashville studio where he was recording the album to aid in recovery and serve as the face of the community to many in the national media. "I didn’t have but four songs cut when the tornadoes hit, so I was a little late getting the album turned in," he says.


In July, Keith rallied fellow artists Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, his daughter Krystal and more for the Oklahoma Twister Relief concert. Drawing more than 60,000 to the University of Oklahoma stadium, the event raised approximately $2 million.


This year has also seen him producing another project close to his heart – Krystal's Show Dog-Universal debut. "I wrote a few things, she’s written a few things and then she’s written with some of the biggest writers in Nashville," he says. "I’m trying to let her do as much of it on her own as she can. There’s a 25-year age difference, so what works for me may not work for her. So it's great to see her taking the reins and trying to get this thing up and rockin.'"


Other ventures much further along in their growth curve include Keith's I Love This Bar And Grill restaurants and his signature Wild Shot Mezcal. "I’ve learned along the way to only take on things that work with the music," he says. "When I have a new artist on my label that needs to get out and do shows for radio, I can plug them in at the restaurants. Same with Wild Shot. I'll sell it at my shows, I'll sell it in my bars – it won't take me away from what I do the way some kind of unrelated business might."


Instead, Toby will focus his time – often backstage waiting for the show to start – to write a song for the next album. And, ultimately, it's that continuing focus and musical discipline that has elevated his entertainment career as well as ancillary businesses to heights rarely if ever seen.


Toby will be in Australia to headline the CMC Rocks the Hunter festival at Hope Estate in March 2014, plus he will be performing side sideshows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. This will be Toby Keith’s first time performing in Australia.


Friday March 14, 2014 | Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Sunday March 16, 2014 | Hunter Valley CMC Rocks the Hunter (festival)

Tuesday March 18, 2014 | Sydney Allphones Arena

Wednesday March 19, 2014 | Melbourne Rod Laver Arena


Lee Kernaghan is re-releasing the fund raising hit Spirit Of The Bush on iTunes to support the NSW Bushfire Appeal. The song features vocal performances from Lee, Adam Brand and Steve Forde supported by an all-star lineup of artists featuring The McClymonts, Sunny Cowgirls, Tania Kernaghan, Nick Kingswell, Travis Collins, Kirsty Lee Akers, Shae Fisher, The Davidson Brothers, Dianna Corcoran, Aleyce Simmonds and Jake Nikolia.


“The song was originally written to raise the hopes of drought stricken communities across Australia during one of the worst droughts in our recent history,” Lee said. “At the time of recording all the artists and the songwriters involved agreed that the song should remain as a fundraiser for rural and regional Australia in perpetuity. Right now there is probably no greater cause than assisting those people in NSW who have lost homes and property in the NSW Bushfires.”


It was agreed by all involved that 100% of the artist royalties, record company income and all music publishing income and royalties would be donated to the cause. The song is available on iTunes. It is $2.19 and the idea is to give people a way to donate that is not expensive, but hopefully large numbers will participate.


Please help promote this great fundraising cause by sharing this information. Spirit Of The Bush is available from the following link:


https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/spirit-of-the-bush-single/id731858107


If you are looking for a good time on Melbourne Cup day, 5th November but don't want to miss the race - this is the most perfect day! Country favourites Rough Cut and The Dalton Gang will entertain you, Dazza, Donna and Nathan with teach you to dance, and the venue will feed you a delicious country roast! You can even watch the race on the big screens.

When:

Tuesday 5th November (Melbourne Cup Day Holiday)12 noon - 6 pm.


Where:

Syrena Polish Club

1325 Stud Rd, Rowville

Rick – 0439 277 300


Cost:

Only $29


What do you get!:

Rough Cut (Voted “The Most Popular Band” 2012-2013 by the Country Music Guild of Australia)

The Dalton Gang Three Piece band with a BIG band sound!

Country Roast with a choice of Chicken or Beef (dessert too)

Dazza, Donna, Nathan - all experienced linedance instructors will teach you:

  • 1 Beginner linedance (everyone is welcome here, it is YOUR opportunity to learn a few steps)
  • 1 New Intermediate linedance

Drinks at Bar Prices

Great dance floor

Plenty of Parking


"Portland's THE FORGHORN STRINGBAND stands at the top of today's vibrant old-time music revival.... Each album finds them deeper into the tradition, more familiar with the rich resources of roots music, and more focused, but still propelled by that undercurrent of punk energy." - Art Menius. The band is Caleb Klauder, vocals & mandolin, Sammy Lind, fiddle and vocals, Nadine Landry, vocals and bass, and Reeb Willems, vocals and guitar. The music is energetic and authentic American roots music: old-time, bluegrass, Cajun, country.


You can catch up with the band at the New South Wales Bluegrass and Acoustic Country Concert on November 2nd. This will be a great evening of authentic acoustic bluegrass, country and Appalachian stringband music.


Also ppearing with the Foghorn Stringband:


HUNTER & SUZY OWENS

Hunter & Suzy Owens are well-known to country and bluegrass music lovers for their beautiful singing, wonderful songwriting and instrumental skills. Hunter, originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, plays mandolin and guitar, Suzy plays bass and fiddle, both sing lead and harmony. Their performances are based mostly on an original repertoire, songs which speak to your heart and tell stories that are hard to forget. hunterandsuzyowens.com


THREE JIMMIES

The Three Jimmies - Jimmy Rush, Nigel Lever and Quentin Fraser - are all top pickers, playing a variety of instruments, but mainly featuring their skills on guitar in this lineup. Jimmy Rush has won a place in flatpicking guitar many times at the Tamworth bluegrass instrumental championships, and Quentin recently won second place in dobro at the 78th Galax Fiddlers Convention in Virginia in 2013.


Concert details:


Annandale Neighbourhood Centre

79 Johnston St, Annandale, NSW

Concert starts 7.45pm

$20 / $10 BTCMSA members.


Tea, coffee, soft drinks and delectable goodies available.

For more information, telephone (02) 9456 1090, check out our website or visit us on Facebook.



Paul Costa is appearing this Friday 25th October at the Country Music Guild of Australia located at the Pascoe Vale RSL in Victoria.


He will be supported by one of the best three piece bands around, the Dalton Gang. A great night out for a very small cost - $8 for visitors and $5 members - where else can you be entertained for so little?


Well priced meals available at the RSL, eat while you enjoy the show.


Paul has two releases form his 4th CD - check out the youtube clips.

[video]http://youtu.be/lyMwkASaQLE[/video]


[video]http://youtu.be/uMv7i8YNlVY[/video]