(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith is known for many things, but an encyclopedic knowledge of country music may be the least recognized. The chart-topping, multi multi-platinum, venue-packing, 2015 Songwriters Hall of Famer is also as close to a human country music jukebox as one can get. And fans are beginning to see that side of him in selfie videos Keith recently started posting online. But it almost wasn't to be...
Like the rest of the world, Keith found himself on the brink of lockdown a few weeks back. The problem, however, is he was in Mexico without any of his musical gear. Not a guitar in sight. Thankfully, a last-minute stop at a local furniture store yielded a used guitar - albeit one with bad action (strings are too high off the neck). Combined with a fortuitous case of quarantine boredom, The Furniture Store Guitar Sessions were born.
Keith has been recording and posting videos from his own phone - more than a dozen so far. The latest is a tribute to the late Harold Reid, member of the legendary vocal group, The Statler Brothers. "Great guy, great entertainer, great singer," Keith says in opening his performance of the group's "Flowers On The Wall." "What a career. Rest in peace, Harold."
In another video, Toby pays tribute to his friend Clint Eastwood, who included one of Keith's songs in his 2018 movie The Mule following a day on the course. "My old golf partner's got a big birthday coming up this spring," Toby says while introducing the late Eddie Rabbitt's "Every Which Way But Loose." "I thought of him today. This was a title cut from one of his big movies. Try this on for size."
To be sure, he's included some of his own songs including "Nights I Can't Remember, Friends I'll Never Forget," "The Size I Wear" and "Cabo San Lucas." Friends, fans and media are taking notice. His cover of Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina" was featured on Willie Nelson's Come And Toke It live stream event April 20 (4/20, of course). And CMT has pigeonholed an unreleased TFSG tune for an upcoming broadcast.
In more conventional news, his fully-produced new song "What's Up Cuz" is out on all streaming platforms. Meanwhile, Toby Keith is staying put and encouraging others to do the same. "You're helping the ones most at risk," he says in one of his recent postings. "Including the ones at the OK Kids Korral."
The Furniture Store Guitar Sessions (date posted):
Humidity Built the Snowman, John Prine (April 17)
I Won't Let You Down, Toby Keith (April 18)
Ain't No Sunshine, Bill Withers (April 19)
Evangelina, Hoyt Axton (April 21)
The Lord Knows I'm Drinking, Cal Smith (April 22)
Trailerhood, Toby Keith (April 23)
Nights I Can't Remember, Friends I'll Never Forget, Toby Keith (April 24)
Flowers on the Wall, The Statler Brothers (April 25)
Somewhere Else, Toby Keith (April 26)
Every Which Way But Loose, Eddie Rabbitt (April 27)
The Size I Wear, Toby Keith (April 28)
There Is No Arizona, Jamie O'Neal (coming soon)
Cabo San Lucas, Toby Keith (coming soon)
View The Furniture Store Guitar Sessions here