Toby Keith, "Bullets In The Gun"

71 Billboard Rating

Toby Keith has been writing and playing country music long enough to know every one of its conventions-and how to twist them around. "Bullets in the Gun" is his 14th studio set overall and fifth for his own Show Dog label. It's full of shoot-from-the- hip cleverness, whether it's the screenplay-ready gunslinger's tale of the title track or the down-and-out character-lovelorn and a Chicago Cubs fan, no less-in "Somewhere Else," the "Trailerhood" community where they pull out six-packs and lawn chairs to watch a tornado or the guy who tells his ex that "I don't miss you too much/But I think about you all the time." Keith and his cohorts do all this with such offhanded dexterity that it's easy to overlook the craft of it all. But the rich melodicism of the song "Is That All You Got" and "Kissin' in the Rain" reminds us that's no mean feat, while "Drive It on Home," "Think About You All of the Time" and "Ain't Breakin' Nothin' " throw a little brawn into the mix

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