Drinks After Work

Album: Drinks After Work (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • Don't be misled by the title - the lead single from Toby Keith's 17th album is a love song, and not one of his drinking tunes like "Get My Drink On" or "Red Solo Cup." It finds Toby romancing his girl as he asks her out for a beverage and celebrates "havin' fun, two-for-one."
  • The song was penned by Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby. The same Nashville trio also penned hit tunes for Little Big Town ("Pontoon") and Lady Antebellum ("Downtown").
  • Keith told Radio.com why he cut this tune: "Every once in a while I'll step out and do something crazy if it's a great song," he said. "In the last 20 years I've done that three or four times. I've found something that's way out of the norm, and I would jump out and do it. This just landed in my lap, and I didn't even know if we would get a good cut on it because it was so different. It just bloomed in the studio, and when we got done they said, 'You have to pick a single.' I had a deadline to meet, and I had a few things in front of me that I really liked, and I said, 'This one sounds like summertime to me, let's go with this.'"
  • Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby wrote the song in December 2012. "We did this little week-long in town writers retreat," Laird recalled to Roughstock. "We're going to try and do it every year where Barry, Natalie and I got together, and just write for four or five days. For this particular song, I had this track pretty much mapped out with the guitar riffs and all that. Natalie had a title, 'Drinks After Work.' That wasn't the first thing I thought of when I heard this music, but Natalie's instinct is usually right. Barry is so good with lyrics and everything. It's just kind of the perfect combo."
  • Laird didn't originally see this as a Toby Keith song. "Natalie sang the demo ... not necessarily that we thought it was a girl's song," he told Roughstock. "It could be either, but I never thought, 'Hey ... let's pitch this to Toby Keith!' We wrote these four or five songs, and then we put a little band together and did a little show for the A&R people in town. It was just a different way for us to pitch songs. We played them live with a band. Mark Wright who runs Show Dog-Universal was there, and he asked my wife Beth if he could get a copy of that song and send it to Toby. He sent it to Toby, and Toby loved it and recorded it [laughs]! It was one that was really unexpected. Toby Keith has been around for a while and has done so well with his own songs that he's written, so to get a cut on him was extra special. That was cool."
  • The first time Keith heard the demo, he thought it was a really cool song, but was unsure if he could pull it off. He explained: "It's really out of the box for me and the first few times singing it in the studio I was really uncomfortable. You're reading off the sheet and trying to sing along with the band, but it wasn't where I normally go, vocally. I usually write everything and, if I go in with something I didn't write, I usually know we're going to have big success with it, but this one I didn't. We just wanted to cut it and see what happens. So this is another one that really bloomed. The scratch vocal after we cut it was just so-so. I got busy with other things, but they came back to me and said I still had to sing the thing and right there in the studio it just happened. Maybe I'd been away from it long enough, but we took a pretty good shot at it."

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