Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Toby Keith's 2016 is how similarly remarkable it is to his 2015. And the year before that. And the years preceding. Sure, '15 saw him inducted into the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, the most meaningful honor of a career anchored in songwriting. As an entertainer, musician, recording artist and philanthropist, however, Toby Keith again proved himself a model of consistency at the highest levels of performance in 2016.
As always with Keith, the core is music. Highlights:
- Toby, Bobby Pinson and Dean Dillon co-wrote "A Few More Cowboys," his recently launched single. Released to widespread critical acclaim, the song also did some good with a social media campaign honoring several "cowboys" whose work makes the world a better place.
- The Toby Keith Interstates & Tailgates Tour Presented by Ford F-Seriescontinued his long-running association with Ford and filled venues nationwide.
- Major media coverage, appearances and performances were led by Keith's medley performance with Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban in tribute to the legendary Glen Campbell on the CBS telecast of the 10th Annual ACM Honors.
- The original location of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, inside Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and celebrated its 10th anniversary. All other locations throughout the U.S. continue to thrive.
Music is an engine for one of his other passions - helping the sickest children and their families through tough times. The 13th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Tournament raised $1.175 million this year for the Toby Keith Foundation's work in support of the OK Kids Korral. This cost-free home away from home cares for pediatric cancer patients and their families being treated at the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Of course the biggest milestone in Keith's 2016 is likely the passing of one of his heroes, Merle Haggard. As much or more than any other artist, Haggard was a profound influence on Toby's music, career and life. In addition to performing with Merle at one of his last shows, Keith was able to honor the legend with a performance on the nationally televised American Country Countdown Awards shortly after his passing in April.