The details get a little fuzzy, since his Show Dog imprint was formed in 2005 right in the thick of a major-label restructuring, but for greatest-hits purposes, Toby Keith's Show Dog Years begin with the release of That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy in 2008 and run until this 2019 release of Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years. In practical terms, this contains Keith's last great run in the country Top Ten, featuring the number ones "She Never Cried in front of Me," "God Love Her," "American Ride," and "Made in America," plus the viral smash "Red Solo Cup." Alongside these songs are many, but not all, of the charting hits from this time. The Top Ten hits are favored, so his stretch of drinking songs after 2012's "Beers Ago" -- "I Like Girls That Drink Beer," "Drinks After Work," and "Drunk Americans" -- are ignored outside of the quite strong "Hope on the Rocks." To this mix are four relatively new cuts: the hushed, melancholy "Don't Let the Old Man In," which was featured in Clint Eastwood's 2018 film The Mule, the charting single "That's Country Bro," a ham-fisted mock-dance remix of "American Ride" featuring DJ KO, and "Back in the 405," a groovy, horn-punctuated R&B tune co-written with Colt Ford. Not all of this is great -- the new version of "American Ride" is forced -- but it all adds up to a pretty representative summary of the opening of the third chapter of Toby Keith's career.
Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine