The latest single from Toby Keith’s 35 MPH Town album is a slow, sweeping ballad that recalls hits from the singer's early days. “Beautiful Stranger” takes its time. A long introduction precludes a lyric that burns at the touch.

“You give in and the night begins with a red wine kiss / I whisper something crazy about your shoes / You hush me and you crush me with your fingertips / It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this side of you,” Keith sings to begin this song. Bobby Pinson helped him write the song.

The arrangement is a throwback to either Keith’s sentimental ‘90s ballads or the great Alabama love songs of the ‘80s. The guitar licks are memorable, but the heart of the song is Keith’s story.

“Beautiful stranger in the candlelight / God must have told you that I needed this tonight / I’ve longed for this feeling, alone here in the dark / Beautiful stranger in my heart,” he cries out during each chorus.

Keith says he held on to this song for quite awhile until he was sure it could become a single, but it’s not clear how long. This fall, “Beautiful Stranger” will get its chance.

Why Fans Will Love It: It's a tender, emotional ballad that recalls some of Keith's earlier hits.

Key Lyrics: “Beautiful stranger in the candlelight / God must have told you that I needed this tonight / I’ve longed for this feeling, alone here in the dark / Beautiful stranger in my heart."

Did You Know?: Toby Keith is a dog lover. He says he often has seven or eight on his property. He'll take in dogs friends or family can no longer care for. 

Listen to Toby Keith, “Beautiful Stranger”

The 100 Greatest Country Albums Ever! Who’s Your No. 1?