Toby Keith may be the ''Big Dog Daddy'' of the title tune, and you know that brash, braggy song is going to sound great in a tour-date arena. But Big Dog Daddy, the first album he's produced himself, is also his most intimate, and Keith has found a way to let his sensitive side show without wimping out. To some folks, Keith's image the anti-Dixie Chick, the truculent rabble-rouser gets in the way of the music. Yet I don't know how anyone could listen to the delicate, high-lonesome croon he applies to ''I Know She Hung the Moon,'' about a comfy but crackling romantic relationship, and doubt the guy's artistic sincerity or his chops.
If his Southern-rock-riffed power-country songs like ''Big Dog Daddy'' and ''Hit It'' have a certain Hank Williams Jr. bombast, Keith's head, heart, and nether region seem more fully committed on other songs here in the clever wordplay and even more cleverly sung tunes such as ''Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya'' and ''High Maintenance Woman.'' His power-ballad single is the hell-yeah-I'm-earnest ''Love Me if You Can.'' But the fact is, the sexiest song on the album ''Burnin' Moonlight'' is about a hot monogamous relationship. All of this suggests Keith understands that beyond its default mode of rowdiness, country music is the soundtrack for adulthood, its pleasures as well as its disillusionments. A-
Download This: Hear ''I Know She Hung the Moon''