Krystal Keith

Whiskey & Lace

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Often the offspring of stars take great pains to separate themselves from their parents. That's not the case with Krystal Keith. Not only has the country singer hired her father Toby to co-produce her 2013 debut, Whiskey & Lace, with Mark Wright, but she's cut four of Toby's songs (including a revival of "Cabo San Lucas" from 2008's That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy), and her first single is "Daddy Dance with Me," a sweet ballad dedicated to her father. Uncharitable observers might call this riding her dad's coattails, but Whiskey & Lace reveals that Krystal Keith isn't capitalizing on her blood ties, she's carrying on a family tradition. Despite her convincing performance on the roaring "Down Into Muddy Water," Krystal is often a little too mannered to really tear into the grittier numbers here -- a problem that only affects the bluesy grind of the title track and also "Him and This Tattoo," where her casual asides seem canned -- but the inherent sweetness in her voice often works in her favor, particularly on the suite of Toby-penned songs that open the record. These songs sound familiar to latter-day Toby Keith fans -- "Doin' It" has a bit of an insistent pop pulse, the Scotty Emerick-co-written "Can't Buy You Money" gets into a deep groove, "What Did You Think I Do" is one of Keith's clever story songs -- and Krystal never oversells the songs; she sounds comfortable and right singing the songs daddy wrote for her. She's a promising songwriter in her own right, too: "Daddy Dance with Me" flirts with mawkishness but it's an effective tear-jerker, "Get Your Redneck On" is appealingly laid-back, and the stripper saga of the title song carries some nice details. What is nicest about Whiskey & Lace is that sense of Keith continuity: finding a way to develop her own voice within what's turning into a family tradition.

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