Album Spotlight: Krystal Keith, ‘Whiskey and Lace’ – ToC Critic’s Pick
A strong voice, proclivity for leaning into life’s edges and good decision-making make Krystal Keith‘s debut album a unique experience in 2013. She’s a multi-dimensional female artist, and on ‘Whiskey and Lace,’ she’s able to show all she can do while keeping cohesion.
Toby Keith‘s hands are all over ‘Whiskey and Lace’ — most notably during the first three songs. ‘Can’t Buy You Money’ and especially ‘What Did You Think I’d Do’ sound like cuts he could have tweaked and taken to the studio. Lyrically, and especially stylistically, Krystal is cut from his cloth. Both are fine songs, so this isn’t really a criticism, but the similarity can be distracting.
After the halfway point, the younger Keith begins to separate herself. Yes, Toby provides vocals on ‘Beautiful Weakness,’ a raw and vulnerable love ballad, but the song is all Krystal. “Fragile” isn’t how one would describe a Keith, but the quiver in her voice as she holds back on this opportunity to show off her big voice is commendable.
Later, she gets to open up and the power surge seeps into ‘Down Into Muddy Water.’ The bluesy rocker begins the strongest portion of the album, and the singer’s strength is only matched by the production. This is a full-grown, corn-fed, red-blooded American woman belting out these licks, and one can’t help but be swept away in the power of it all.
Then, she backs off. ‘Get Your Redneck On’ is the album’s finest moment, a true country-girl jam performed by a woman with a voice that’s anything but vanilla. At different times, one thinks Jennifer Nettles and Gretchen Wilson during ‘Whiskey and Lace.’ The title track closes the project, holding its own special surprise. Alongside ‘Can’t Buy You Money,’ this song proves Krystal is a one fine storyteller, as well.
Key Tracks: ‘Can’t Buy You Money,’ ‘Beautiful Weakness,’ ‘Down Into Muddy Water,’ ‘Get Your Redneck On’
Not a Traitor: So, what if Krystal wanted to sign with someone else’s record label instead of Show Dog-Universal, her father’s label? “It just was never discussed,” she tells ToC. “I would consider it a sin.”
Did You Know?: As a kid, Krystal Keith was able to brag about her very famous music teacher. “I always used to say Shania (Twain) taught me how to sing because she was on tour with my dad and we would sit on the bus and I would sing and she would tell me ‘That’s a little … this pitch, this is how you do this,’” she dishes. “We wouldn’t have a 30 minute or one hour session, but I would be just singing songs and she would just give me tips.”