Five years ago, Country star Toby Keith made the decision to leave Mercury Records, the label he first signed with in the early 1990s, and move to DreamWorks Records, which offered him more creative control over his career. Although his outspoken nature has sometimes drawn criticism, Toby obviously understands the business side of music, and, more importantly, what his fans like. Toby Keith has compiled his DreamWorks achievements on his new career retrospective, Greatest Hits 2.
The recent Top 5 single "Stays In Mexico" is one of three new tracks on Toby Keith's second career anthology, Greatest Hits 2. Toby's first hits compilation was released on Mercury Records in 1998.
There was so much going on with Mercury when the first hits album was being put together," he says. "Some of that music I'm really proud of, and some stuff, like the Sting duet, was foisted on me by the label. They were trying to push me in a certain direction, and I wasn't able to really be myself in a lot of ways. This one is different because it reflects a point in my career when I was able to be completely self-directed - my songs, my decisions."
Toby wrote the new song, "Go With Her", with his longtime songwriting partner Scotty Emerick. It was inspired by a conversation Keith had with his late father, who once told him, "I don't know what I'd do if your mother ever left me. I'd probably just pack up and go with her."
In addition to the three new songs, Greatest Hits 2 contains many fan favorites, like his Number One singles "How Do You Like Me Now," "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight" and "I Wanna Talk About Me." You'll also find a live version of "Should've Been A Cowboy."
"Should've Been A Cowboy" was Toby's very first single in 1993. It went to the top of the Country chart, and, according to Billboard, was the most-played song of the 1990s in any genre.
Toby recently wrapped up his 2004 concert tour. He'll make one more appearance this year, playing Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center on New Year's Eve.
Next year, Toby will open a restaurant and music hall chain named "I Love This Bar and Grill." Locations include Las Vegas, Nevada; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Kansas City, Missouri; Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Shreveport, Louisiana. Each will have a live music stage and Toby Keith memorabilia, such as his signature red, white and blue motorcycles. Toby also has a studio album ready for release in early 2005.
In the meantime, he has another popular album to add to his multi-million-selling career. Toby's Greatest Hits 2 anthology debuted at Number 2 on the Country album chart. Among its highlights is his version of Carly Simon and James Taylor's 1974 hit "Mockingbird." He recorded the song with his 17-year-old daughter Krystal, who plans to pursue a singing career after she graduates from college.
"Mockingbird" is currently flying up the Country charts.