If you weren’t reaching for the tissues on that one, check your pulse.
Toby Keith has largely remained out of the public eye over the past year after announcing last summer that he was battling stomach cancer. The superstar cancelled his 2022 as he was undergoing chemotherapy, and aside from a few pop-up shows recently, hasn’t taken the stage much since his diagnosis.
Prior to the awards, Toby revealed that he would be performing “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” a song that was inspired by a conversation with Clint Eastwood.
Released in 2019, Toby wrote the song after a golf tournament with the legendary actor and director. When Eastwood mentioned that he was leaving the next day for a three month shoot on his next film The Mule, Toby asked him how he still kept up with his rigorous schedule at his age.
And Eastwood responded:
“I just don’t let the old man in.”
The result was a tearjerker of a ballad about living life to the fullest, despite the fact that time will eventually catch up to us all. And Eastwood liked it so much that he actually included it in The Mule.
But during the awards show, Toby’s performance of the song took on a new meaning as he reminded the audience to take advantage of the time that we still have:
“Many moons I have lived My body’s weathered and worn Ask yourself how old would you be If you didn’t know the day you were born
Try to love on your wife And stay close to your friends Toast each sundown with wine Don’t let the old man in”