“One Of The Best Lines I’ve Ever Heard” – Willie Nelson Had High Praise For Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let The Old Man In”

Willie Nelson Toby Keith
Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic

From one country music legend to another.

Toby Keith had an extensive collection of hits, but it was one of his most heartfelt songs that he penned that has stuck with a lot of fans since his passing.

Toby originally released “Don’t Let The Old Man In” back in 2019, but the song took on new life after he performed it during the People’s Choice Country Awards amid his battle with cancer.

He told the origin story of the song many times, as a round of golf with Clint Eastwood and a quote from the all-time-great actor planted the seed for the idea and premise for the hit. It was featured in Eastwood’s movie The Mule, and has obviously had more of a weight to it since the country music world lost Toby Keith.

Three years ago, Keith and Willie Nelson sat down for a Virtual Town Hall with Sirius XM, and it was on there that Willie took a moment to praise Toby for the song. Considering the songwriter Nelson is, this quote about “Don’t Let The Old Man In” must have meant a lot to the Big Dog Daddy:

“The song that we did on your album, ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In,’ there is a line in there that’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. And it’s ‘Many moons I have lived, but don’t ask me how old I would be if I didn’t know the day I was born.’ That’s a heavy line there. Thank you for that Toby.”

Toby accepted the kind words with graciousness, and after briefly running through the story of how the song came to life, he touched on that specific line that stuck with Willie and so many others that have listened to the song:

“I couldn’t think of nothing but this idea, and I started writing. And when it came to the bridge, it just fell out. I just said ‘Ask yourself how old you’d be if you didn’t know the day you were born,’ and it just glued the whole thing together.”

Now equipped with hindsight, that moment where Nelson was able to give Toby his flowers for his work is incredibly touching to look back on. You can view the snippet of the interview below:

And if you want to take some time to fire up “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” we’ve got that covered for you as well. The music video overlays Keith’s vocals on clips from Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, which is a great watch by the way if you’ve never seen it:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock