The very title of Dream Walkin'
has a hazy, laid-back quality, which is rather appropriate since this, Toby Keith
's fourth album, comes from the close of his time at Mercury Records, when he was singing more ballads than rockers and when he was cutting nearly as many covers as he was originals. It was all part of an attempt to have Keith
fit within the country music machine and he's good enough of a ballad singer to have this work well, although the tunes not written by Keith
-- "We Were in Love," Sting
's "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying" -- don't showcase his underrated, understated subtle singing as well as his original ballads, which have a nice sense of grace. Similarly, the wannabe swagger of "Double Wide Paradise" doesn't have the snap of Keith
's own livelier material such as the rip-roaring "Jacky Don Tucker (Play by the Rules Miss All the Fun)" and the refurbished Western swing of "I Don't Understand My Girlfriend," both of which go a long way on Keith
's outsized humor, or his excellent "She Ran Away with a Rodeo Clown," which plays like a deserved tribute to Moe Bandy
. There aren't many of these livelier tunes here -- enough to make an impact, enough to make you wish there were more, but even if this is heavy on the smooth stuff, Dream Walkin'
rides its mellow vibes in an appealing fashion.