With 35 MPH Town due out October 9th, Toby Keith stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night to drum up some buzz — literally — for his upcoming album. Backed by horns, pedal steel and synthesized steel drums, he debuted the record’s newest single, “Rum is the Reason,” a beach bum’s tribute to bright sun, white sand and dark liquor.
Performed in front of video screens filled with palm trees and blues skies, “Rum is the Reason” sounded laid-back and light-hearted, reminiscent of fellow country titans like Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown. “Rum is the reason pirates never ruled the world,” goes the Jimmy Buffet-worthy chorus, capping off a song that mixes mariachi brass and country twang into the same island cocktail. Coincidentally enough, Mr. Buffet himself makes an appearance on 35 MPH Town, adding his beachside charm to track “Sailboat for Sale.”
Stephen Colbert, who inducted Keith into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in June, kicked off his reign at CBS’ new Late Show host this Tuesday. Keith is the first country artist to appear on his show, and the “Red Solo Cup” singer showed his appreciation last night by giving Colbert one of his own spruce-topped Takamine guitars.
“Oh yeah!” Colbert exclaimed, strumming a D on the new instrument. “Now I just have to learn a second chord.”