As he attempts to balance music, producing and starring in movies, running a label, touring and maintaining a small chain of I Love This Bar restaurants and clubs, Toby Keith could be forgiven for running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The secret to not ending up that way? Trusting his team.
“It’s a real fine-tuned blend of perfectness for me,” Keith says. “Everybody at my label’s been doing this a long time. I don’t need to sit in a chair with my feet on a desk with a cigar and tell them what to do. They know their jobs. The restaurants are run by a corporation, once every two or three years I do a movie project, and I only do 60 or 65 shows now.”
The blend seems to be working. His current single, “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” is No. 1 this week on Hot Country Songs, and its parent album, “That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy,” arrives this week on his own Show Dog Nashville label.
Keith, who last worked with an outside producer on 2006’s “White Trash With Money,” self-produced the set. “Producers are all good and fine,” he says before adding the inevitable qualifier. “But I just don’t need outside production anymore. I am my niche, I created my niche, I created my world. When I come on singing it doesn’t have to be some grand production. It’s all me now. I’ve got my fingerprints all over it.”