Starting my day with tears in my eyes, hearing the news that country music lost one of the greats, Toby Keith.
Toby Keith was laid to rest at 62after a longstanding battle with stomach cancer, breaking the hearts of country music fans around the world. While it seemed as though Keith was hoping to make a comeback, joking with fans during his Las Vegas show that they “think I’m dying, don’t you, you b*tch.”
While I think I speak collectively for the country music fans that we wish he were still here making jokes like that or belting out his own songs in a karaoke Uber, at least we have so many fond memories of Keith to look back on.
Toby Keith was an icon in many ways, but one talent Keith had that knocked other artists out of the park was his songwriting ability.
His final show was December 14th, 2023 in Las Vegas, where the Big Dog took the stage to perform a number of his country hits including the great “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.” His breakout single released in 1993, that song kicked off a career that featured 20 chart-topping singles in addition to a number of other Top 5 country songs.
“Don’t Let The Old Man In”
Toby also performed his latest single, “Don’t Let The Old Man In.” The song was originally released as a single in 2018, in conjunction with the Clint Eastwood movie The Mule, and also appeared on his 2019 compilation album Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years.
It was then re-released this year this past year following his performance at the People’s Choice Country Awards:
During one of his final performances, Keith brought the 2023 Country Music People’s Choice Award audience to tears with a stunning acoustic performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In.” The song itself is heartfelt enough, but add Keith (who at the time had been very candid about his cancer battle) singing it on stage, and the lyrics hit a new profound level.
As the recipient of the Country Music Icon that night, Keith took to the stage for what would be one of his final performances, bringing the audience to tears. I cry every time I watch this video, and then when the camera pans to his wife, and she is wiping away tears, I lose it entirely.
“Many moons I have lived My body’s weathered and worn Ask yourself how would you be If you didn’t know the day you were born
When he rides up on his horse And you feel that cold bitter wind Look out your window and smile Don’t let the old man in…”
“Don’t Let The Old Man In” is a song that will live on forever, just like the legacy of Keith as a performer, songwriter, and true artist.