Toby Keith Releases Version of ‘Oklahoma Breakdown’, Red Dirt Scene Loses It’s Collective Mind
To be honest, I can't believe it took this long for a mainstream act to cut it. "Oklahoma Breakdown," written by Mike Hosty, is one of Red Dirt's most iconic songs, and it's a great song regardless of genre, sub-genre, or "scene."
The song rose to prominence after Stoney LaRue decided last minute to add it to the set list for his Live at Billy Bob's album recording. That live album was released in 2007, and it and this song helped to cement Stoney forever on the Mount Rushmore of Red Dirt.
Back to the update: To be fair I had the bar set really, really low for Toby's version. It's always hard to like a new take on an old standard, especially when you feel like it never got it's due. I mean, as big as that song was for us, far too many people will still never hear Stoney's version.
But it's just like when Kenny Chesney released "El Cerrito Place" and Charlie Robison fans were in an uproar; for folks who had never heard Robison's version, they loved it. And of course they did, it's a GREAT song. Which was for the record written by Keith Gattis.
I'd compare it to riding someone else's bike when we were kids, it's just off a little. But, and hear me out, if you never had a bike of your own growing up, you'd think it was pretty damn great.
So, no, I don't prefer the update, at all. But obviously people will enjoy it. It's what they do with great songs. And while Toby is likely too far past his prime to be able to turn it into a radio hit, it will definitely find a new audience. And you know ol' Mike Hosty will be happy finding all that money in his mailbox.
Oh, and, hey, just maybe, a few people who had never heard of Stoney will now find themselves listening to one of the best to ever do it out of The Sooner State.
The song is included on Keith's new album Peso in My Pocket.
As far as Stoney goes, from 2018-2020, he recorded his live performances, with a plan to release a live album series at some point. Well, thanks to a global pandemic some point became last year. Volume 1 of his live album series, Kickin’ It LIVE From The Road, is out now.
Oh and while I got you, check out this 22-year-old video, of early Jason Boland and Stoney LaRue performing a 30 minute set at Wormy Dog Saloon, it's pre-Oklahoma Breakdown. It is amazing.