How Toby Keith Got in Justin Timberlake’s “Sauce”

And Other Country and Americana Moments on Timberlake’s Man of the Woods

Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods is definitely a stellar pop album. But listening to the music, folks can taste the dirt from his musically rich home state of Tennessee. There’s also Kentucky blues, some Oklahoma grit and Alabama soul.

Fans have already been caught up in the rhythm of his Chris Stapleton collaboration, “Say Something.” Stapleton also co-wrote the Alicia Keys duet “Morning Light,” and he played the opening guitar part on the Man of the Woods lead single “Filthy.”

But the song with the biggest country crossover potential is “The Hard Stuff.” Co-written with Stapleton, Eric Hudson, Elliott Ives and Robin Tadross, it’s a sweet love song about commitment with syncopated melodies and acoustic fingerpicking that would fit on any album by Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt or Zac Brown Band.

Backstage at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, Stapleton described working with Timberlake as a “fluid process.”

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