Eighteen years ago today, Toby Keith made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry.
It’s no secret that playing at the Grand Ole Opry is a coveted experience for country music performers. Many musicians including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash, have solidified their standing as music legends on that stage.
However, Keith was no stranger to the stage when he stepped onto the Opry. In fact, at the time of his performance, he had already released seven albums and had 22 top 20 singles. A few of those top singles include “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”
Keith took to Twitter to celebrate his memory of the day. Along with a photo of his performance, Keith writes, “On this day in 2002, Toby took the @Opry stage for the first time where many of the legends he pays tribute to in “That’s Country Bro” stood before him!”
Keith really does pay tribute to the country music greats in his song, “That’s Country Bro.” According to a press release, Keith sings the names of 57 different country music influencers during the two-and-a-half-minute song. Now, that is talent fit for the Grand Ole Opry!
Toby Keith Says The Grand Ole Opry Is Country Music’s “Mother”
Many stars have been born on the Opry stage. This is why it’s actually fitting for Keith to refer to the stage as the “mother” for country musicians.
“I know what it has provided for me and all who follow,” he continues. “The Opry is truly our mother.”
After his debut performance, Keith did not return to the stage until 2011 when he was joined by a fellow musician, Trace Adkins. Nevertheless, Keith acknowledges the significance of the venue.
“The Opry is the most prestigious historical music-related event in all of country music,” said Keith. “I don’t live in Tennessee, and it’s always been difficult for me to make the arrangements to perform on that grand stage. But it doesn’t keep me from listening almost ritualistically to it…”