Toby Keith Delivers Emotion-Packed Comeback Performance at People’s Choice Country Awards
Keith sang “Don’t Let The Old Man In” during his first major awards show performance in six years.
Toby Keith; Photo by Katherine Bomboy/NBC
Toby Keith took the stage for his first major awards show performance since 2017 during Thursday’s Inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards.
The Oklahoma native, who was on hand to accept the Country Icon Award, delivered a stirring performance of his song, “Don’t Let The Old Man In.”
“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,” Keith sang while his wife, Tricia Lucus, could be seen shedding tears from the front of the audience.
“Don’t Let The Old Man In”
Toby Keith penned “Don’t Let The Old Man In” for the film The Mule starring Clint Eastwood. This was an emotional moment, given Keith’s ongoing battle with stomach cancer.
First Awards Show Performance In Six Years
The performance marks Keith’s first time performing on an awards show since 2017 when he appeared on ACM Honors when he performed “Who’s Your Daddy.”
Moments before his performance, Keith accepted the Country Icon Award from fellow Oklahoma native Blake Shelton.
“Y’all never thought you’d see me in skinny jeans. I want to thank the Almighty for allowing me to be here tonight. You’ve been riding shotgun with me for a little while. Want to thank my beautiful family [is] here,” Keith said. “A lot of people go in and make it a big career like this of 30 years, my manager, TK Kimbrell, Brian O’Connell, Elaine Schock, the band and the crew and everybody that’s all behind this thing, all the great musicians that have played on all of these albums in the studios, they’ve poured their heart and soul into what I do. And most of all, I want to thank the fans for still allowing us to do what we do. So God bless you. Thank you.”
Country Icon Award
The Country Icon Award honors Toby Keith for “his decades-long career as a groundbreaking musician, humanitarian and entrepreneur.” The award also recognized Keith’s 30-year career as a musician, philanthropist and entrepreneur.
With 32 No.1 singles and 40 million albums sold, Toby Keith is regarded as one of country music’s biggest hitmakers. He wrote a chart-topping hit every year for 20 consecutive years, including “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer For My Horses,” and “As Good As I Once Was.”
A Celebrated Songwriter
He is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (having already been inducted into the all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015), and was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award.
Throughout his career, the Oklahoma native received the BMI Icon Award as well as the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year award three times, and his hit single “As Good As I Once Was” was awarded BMI’s Country Song of the Year in 2006.
His music has garnered more than 10 billion streams and 100 million terrestrial radio spins to date.
Keith’s most rewarding experiences, however, have come from giving back locally, nationally, and abroad. His annual golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses, and his 11 USO tours have enhanced the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families.
In 2014, he was given the Spirit of the USO Award for his work with the organization, which has so far included 11 tours and more than 285 events in over 18 countries. In an even more personal instance of philanthropy, he became the face of his hometown after it was ravaged by a tornado, shouldering the cleanup, and headlining the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert.
2023 People’s Choice Country Awards
The first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards took place at the iconic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday (Sept. 28).
Throughout the show, awards for 12 categories were given out, including People’s Artist of 2023, Male Artist of 2023, Female Artist of 2023, Group/Duo of 2023, New Artist of 2023, Social Country Star of 2023, Song of 2023, Collaboration Song of 2023, Crossover Song of 2023, Album of 2023, Music Video of 2023 and Concert Tour of 2023.
Wynonna Judd was also celebrated with the Country Champion Award, given to her by Brothers Osborne.
The coveted awards show also featured performances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, HARDY, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Toby Keith, Wynonna Judd and more.
Adam Doleac, Blake Shelton, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce, Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, Hunter Hayes, Jessie James Decker, Josh Ross, Kameron Marlowe, Kristin Cavallari, Lady A, Lauren Alaina, Leanne Morgan, Mickey Guyton, Nikki Garcia, Scotty McCreery and The War And Treaty were also on hand to present.
Little Big Town was the host of the show. “We are honored to host the inaugural ‘People’s Choice Country Awards,’ especially on one of our most beloved stages in the entire world,” the group previously shared in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming so many of our talented peers to take the Opry stage for this magical night of music.”
The 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards’ aired live on NBC and Peacock on September 28 at 8/7c simultaneously on NBC and Peacock.
The livestream also aired on Peacock, PCA Twitter, NBC Twitter/Facebook/YouTube, TODAY All Day/Twitter, E! News Twitter/Facebook/YouTube/E!Online, Access Twitter/YouTube, and Circle TV Network and Circle social platforms, featuring red carpet arrivals, backstage chats and more.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.