The familiar maxim of the triple threat – singer, songwriter, musician – doesn’t begin to cover it for Toby Keith, one of the modern era’s most complete self-directed hit makers. And Keith’s most recent several months are a remarkably accurate representation of his entire career. He wrote, produced and released his latest song, “Wacky Tobaccy,” whose accompanying music video features Willie Nelson and has quickly become a surprise runaway viral hit, amassing more than 9 million views since its posting. It heralded the release of his latest album, The Bus Songs. This year also sees the continuation of the Toby Keith Interstates & Tailgates Tour presented by Ford F-Series that opened in May with sold out dates in Oklahoma and California, and filled venues nationwide throughout 2016, too. Toby recently performed at Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard in Nashville and he took the stage at Carnegie Hall for The Cake And The Rain: A Celebration Of The Music Of Jimmy Webb in New York City where he performed Webb’s classic, “MacArthur Park.” The Academy of Country Music honored Keith with their Poet’s Award for songwriting in recognition of his outstanding and longstanding musical and lyrical contributions as a songwriter throughout his career, and his songs’ impact on the culture of country music. Rounding out the beginning of 2017 was the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic which raised $1.6 million, a record-breaking amount of funds for a single event in the Toby Keith Foundation’s history, to aid sick children and their families in Oklahoma.
From the moment Toby’s debut single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” shot up the charts to become his first No. 1, the engine driving everything else has been the music. He writes it. He arranges and produces it. And he releases it on his own record label, Show Dog Nashville. At the core is his songwriting, as recognized in his 2015 induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City. The Nashville Songwriters Association International named him Songwriter/Artist of the Decade and he is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year. His songs have received more than 90 million BMI performances on commercial radio stations worldwide. Keith’s albums have sold more than 40 million copies. His tours have drawn more than a million fans each year for more than a decade straight, with recent expansion into Europe and Australia. The awards are too numerous to count and include Artist of the Decade nods from Billboard and the American Country Awards, as well as the ACM’s Career Achievement honor. A musician’s musician, he was a last minute illness stand-in for the late Merle Haggard a few years back and responded to Merle’s query about which of the legend’s songs Keith knew and could cover with, “All of ’em.” And there have been some unexpected highlights along the way as well, including country’s most impactful viral event, “Red Solo Cup,” the video for which has received more than 41 million views and was named ACM Video of the Year . Toby’s most rewarding experiences, however, have come from giving back locally, nationally and abroad. His golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses. His 11 USO Tours to date have been recognized with the Spirit of the USO Award (2014). And when a tornado ravaged his hometown, Toby Keith was the face of the community and helped shoulder the cleanup with the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert. Triple threat? How about singer, songwriter, musician, producer, entertainer, humanitarian, Oklahoman and patriot. For starters.