Honkytonk University

Studio Album by released in 2005
Honkytonk University's tracklist:
Honkytonk U
As Good as I Once Was
She Ain't Hooked on Me No More (feat. Merle Haggard)
Big Blue Note
Just the Guy to Do It
She Left Me
Knock Yourself Out
You Ain't Leavin' (Thank God Are Ya)
I Got It Bad
Your Smile
Where You Gonna Go
You Caught Me at a Bad Time

Honkytonk University review

Honkytonk University marks Toby Keith’s first full length studio album since 2003's acclaimed quadruple platinum Shock'n Y'all and the second album he's released since 2002's Unleashed made him into a bonafide superstar thanks to its post-9/11 anthem Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American). Honkytonk University, as its title suggests, confirms that Keith is the biggest hardcore country, a rowdy modern man, building on the outlaw country of Waylon Jennings and the sound of latter-day Merle Haggard, throwing in traces of Dwight Yoakam along with a keen eye for contemporary life. He takes such time-honored themes as love, broken hearts, and drinking and gives them new life through his sharp details and sense of humor and a strong sense of craft.

Though it might not be fair to say that Toby Keith has mellowed, he has definitely matured. Rather than taking political potshots, he exchanges bully-boy bluster for a tone of wry bemusement on Big Blue Note and She Left Me, tempering middle-aged pride with a confession that the years have taken their toll on As Good as I Once Was. The first single Honkytonk University is semi-autobiographical and harkens back to days spent working in a nightclub owned by his grandmother. After flexing his muscles with the title track he showcases the subtler side of his vocal artistry on She Ain't Hooked on Me No More – a duet with Merle Haggard – and Knock Yourself Out, while turning almost tender on Your Smile and Where You Gonna Go. He's been writing good barroom weepers and party tunes for a long time, but here, the love ballads and sad songs are just as good, and there are such nice, breezy changes of pace as Where You Gonna Go that recall the best of rolling, folk-influenced country. Indeed, there's a greater variety of sounds and styles on Honkytonk University than many Toby Keith records — there's honky-tonk, to be sure, but that's only the starting point — and that variety, along with the consistently strong set of original songs (all bearing Keith's writing credits, many co-written by Scotty Emerick), makes this one of his very best records. It is a refreshingly honest outing that still maintains a high fun factor.

When it comes to Toby Keith, opinions are usually fairly strong. You either love the guy or you don't, but either way, he'll make you talk. He's the epitome of the bad boy mothers warn their daughters against – a little edgy, a whole lot patriotic, and undeniably talented, both with a mic and a pen. Toby Keith’s shines and shines brightly on this latest installment in his unique and storied career. Honkytonk University offers a return to the well-constructed, melodic material that Keit was known for during his Mercury days and his first two DreamWorks albums (How Do You Like Me Now?! and Pull My Chain). The songwriting on this album is, as always, up to par. In fact, these are some of Keith's best songs to date. This is traditional country music with grit-humor, heartbreak, drinking, hope, and twang. This album is the least didactic Keith’s cut since he became a country superstar, which is laudable.

(14.06.2005)
Rate review5.00
Total votes - 5


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