Toby Keith’s ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In’ Gets A Second Shot At Country Radio

BMLG Records will officially ship the song to country radio on October 30.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

October 18, 2023

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Toby Keith; Photo by Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Following his powerful performance at the People’s Choice Country Awards, Toby Keith is heading back to country radio with “Don’t Let The Old Man In” thanks to a new partnership with BMLG Records. 

The lauded singer, songwriter, entertainer, and entrepreneur has teamed up with the label to bring the poignant ballad to country radio on October 30.

New BMLG Records Partnership Announced

“Scott Borchetta, Allison Jones, George Briner and I all had the honor of working with Toby at DreamWorks Records,” shared Jimmy Harnen, President/CEO, BMLG Records. “After seeing Toby’s incredible performance of ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In’ on the People’s Choice Country Awards, we were so moved, we wanted to be a part of this song any way we possible—we’re looking forward to taking it to Country radio, DSPs and beyond.” 

Toby Keith - Don't Let The Old Man In
Toby Keith – Don’t Let The Old Man In

“We are honored to, again, represent Toby Keith and this amazing song and moment. Jimmy, George and I worked 12 of his No.1 hits,” Scott Borchetta, Chairman and CEO of Big Machine Label Group, added. 

Previously Sent To Country Radio In Late 2018

According to country radio insider Chris Owen, the track was originally released to country radio in December of 2018. In January 2019, the song peaked at No.41 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and at No.52 on the Mediabase chart.

The news comes following a massive digital resurgence of “Don’t Let The Old Man In”  following the PCCAs. The song topped Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales chart for two consecutive weeks. Additionally, the poignant tune placed in the Top 3 on the all-genre sales chart and claimed the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Country Songs and Videos charts.  

The viral performance that caught the attention of fans took place after Keith was presented with the Country Icon Award from fellow Oklahoma native Blake Shelton. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, who made a rare public appearance amid his stomach cancer battle, used the moment to thank those who have helped him along the way, both personally and professionally. 

Toby Keith; Photo by: Allen Clark/NBC
Toby Keith; Photo by: Allen Clark/NBC

“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 from the stage. “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.”

In an interview with NBC’s Backstage Live, Keith revealed that he chose to sing “Don’t Let The Old Man In” for a very specific reason: “because I’ve been going through my cancer fight for the last couple of years and it’s really inspiring for a lot of people. And coming back on TV for the first time and performing live in front of a live audience, I thought it was fitting.”

Re-Live The Performance

YouTube video

Story Behind The Song

“Don’t Let The Old Man In” was written solely by Toby Keith in 2018. It was inspired by a conversation the country superstar had with the legendary Clint Eastwood while participating in the Pebble Beach Gold Pro-Am. That year, they were teamed up as partners and Keith had the opportunity to get to know Eastwood on a more personal level. 

“He was turning 88 that Monday, and this was Saturday,” Keith explained in a video shared to his official social media accounts. “And I said, ‘What are you going to do to celebrate?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to go shoot a movie called The Mule.’”  

The country music icon went on to ask Eastwood, “What keeps you going.” 

His response, according to Keith, was: “I try not to let the old man in.” 

This led to the creation of the song. Without seeing a script or knowing virtually anything about The Mule, Keith wrote “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” sent it to Eastwood, and it was eventually featured in the film. 

100% Songwriter Arriving Soon

The 62-year-old will release a new project, dubbed 100% Songwriter, on November 3. The 13-track collection celebrates Keith’s most legendary solo-written songs, all assembled into one collection. 

Among the track list is Keith’s breakout hit, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,”  which was just certified triple platinum from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Released in 1993, the song marked the beginning of a wildly successful career for the Oklahoma native, which went on to include 52 top 10 hits, 32 No. 1s, more than 40 million albums sold, 100 million airplay performances (BMI) and more than 10 billion streams.

Other notable tracks included on 100% Songwriter include fan-favorites such as “He Ain’t Worth Missin’,” Wish I Didn’t Know Now,” and “Big Ol’ Truck.”

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

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 and her work being featured on 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.