Personnel: Ilya Toshinsky (acoustic guitar, banjo); Steven Sheehan (acoustic guitar); Jerry McPherson, Kenny Greenberg, Brent Mason (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (dobro); Randy Scruggs (banjo); Aubrey Haynie (mandolin, fiddle); John Catchings, Kristin Wilkinson, Mary Kathryn Van Osdale, David Angell (strings); Dave Koz (saxophone); Steve Nathan (piano, keyboards); Charles Judge (synthesizer, programming); Chris McHugh (drums); Jim Hoke (Jew's harp); Eric Darken, Arthur Thompson (percussion); Angela Primm, Perry Coleman, Gayle Mayes (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Mills Logan.
With most contemporary country artists, you could guarantee that a song called "American Ride" would be a slice of jingoism, but Toby Keith isn't like most country singers. His "American Ride" casts a cynical eye at desperate housewives and wannabe pop stars, not celebrating down-home values but wondering where we're all headed on this American Ride at the end of the 2000s, a sentiment not all that far removed from some of Keith's previous social commentary, which makes it a mild surprise that it is the only song here that doesn't come from his own pen. As superb and striking as it is, it's not necessarily a good keystone for the rest of the record, which does have a few tougher numbers that pick up on the lean, mean vibe of 2008's THAT DON'T MAKE ME A BAD GUY -- "Every Dog Has Its Day," the sly "If I Had One," and the heavy blues stomp "Loaded" -- but spends more time on the softer side, even when he kicks up a bit of dust on the dancefloor on "You Can't Read My Mind" or does a funny, respectful salute to military life on "Ballad of Balad." In other words, the real touchstone for the rest of the record is "Tender as I Wanna Be," where he lets his guard down and lets the romance flow. This doesn't turn AMERICAN RIDE into a schizophrenic jumble, as Keith has always balanced these two extremes, but after spending a little bit more time swaggering than wooing, he's back to crooning and it's amiable and appealing.
Are You Feelin' Me
Every Dog Has Its Day
Woke Up on My Own
If You're Tryin' You Ain't
Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song) - (featuring Dave Koz/Marcus Miller/Arthur Thompson)