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"Years ago, the first house I lived in, there was a couple a little bit older than me that were married and lived three houses down," Toby tells Country Weekly. "They'd work, and on Fridays and Saturdays they'd have a big barbecue and play cards and drink beer. Once in a while, I'd go down there."
The couple eventually split up and the man moved away, much to Toby's dismay. "I thought of all the people who come and go in your life, who don't give you a two-week notice when they're gone. And unless you're really close to them, you just forget about them," the singer-songwriter explains. "I started thinking of that, and how my dad would go to the café every morning in town. He had his buddies he sat with .... and then just one day, they end up not showing up. You might ask what happened to them, but it's not really a big loss to you, because it was just trivial chatter: football games, I like your new truck, how's it going?"
Toby's "Hope on the Rocks" pays homage to those who have been influential in his own life. "Growing up in bars and having a grandmother who owned one when I was a kid and having played bars my whole life, I know how good neighborhood bars can be," he notes. "The bartender is also a baby-sitter, brother, father, mentor, guru, suicide hotline, everything!"
Toby, who penned every song on his latest album, says "Hope on the Rocks" holds a special place in his heart. "[It's] one of my favorite things I've ever written," he admits. "Last fall I was driving out to my hunting and fishing ranch in southern Oklahoma, and all the way there I had a verse and chorus going that I'd had for a couple months. I knew it was dark out there, but I just couldn't let it go. I spent two days down there and the whole time, whenever I wasn't talking to anybody, I was working that song in my head. I just hammered on it; completely obsessed."
Toby will continue his Live in Overdrive tour in 2013 with stops in Texas, Arizona and California. See a list of his upcoming shows here.