Toby Talks Tours and Tournament

Keith Says "I Love This Bar" Fueled Sales of Latest Album

When Toby Keith returns to the road in late summer, he’ll be joined by Terri Clark and yet to be determined “cool opening act.”

Keith mentioned the tour during a recent roundtable interview attended by CMT Radio and other syndicated radio networks.

“We’re still looking for a real cool opening act,” Keith said. “I always like to take something that nobody has ever heard — that I love. We’re working through a few of them right now. Hopefully, we’ll come up with something very cool.” Keith said he would prefer to give the opening slot to a more eclectic act — “as opposed to just sticking some new artist up there with one hit.”

Keith continued, “I always wanted to work with BR549. I don’t know if that’s gonna work out or not, but we’ve got three or four things on the line. We want something real cool on the front where people come in and go, ’Wow, that was entertaining.’ Then Terri comes out, and she puts a hell of a show on. She filled in a weekend or two for Blake [Shelton] when he had some commitments. The crowd just loves her to death.”

Keith also confirmed that plans are underway for a major stadium show before he officially kicks off his new tour.

“I think the last day or two of July, we’re opening at Gillette Stadium in Boston where the Patriots play,” he said. “It’s going to be a big blowout. I think there are seven or eight acts. … It’s neat to be able to know we can go to Boston and step up in a stadium and pull something like that off. That shows how strong country music is right now, I think.”

While off the road, he’ll be hosting his first-ever Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic. Taking place May 24 in Norman, Okla., the event benefits Ally’s House Charity, a not-for-profit organization assisting the families of Oklahoma children with cancer. Although Shelton and Sawyer Brown are expected to participate, Keith notes, “But mostly it’s just Oklahoma sports figures — the coaches, the Heisman Trophy winners. It’s a local tournament for a local fund.

“If you ask a bunch of guys like Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens and Troy Aikman to come in, they all have tournaments, too. As busy as I am, I just can’t reciprocate, so I just try to keep it local. But it’s a great cause and a great event.”

Keith met with the media before a party celebrating the triple-platinum status of his latest album, Shock ’n Y’all. In analyzing the album’s popularity, Keith pointed to the project’s first single, “I Love This Bar.”

“We opened it with a huge record,” Keith said. “’American Soldier’ was an important song. It had about everything I wanted to say about the issue. … But I started with ’I Love This Bar.’ We got it out and got it to No. 1 before the album came out. ’I Love This Bar’ bar was a little bit overshadowed, but it drove the biggest part of those record sales. We did almost 3 million before the [Christmas] holiday season was over.

“What’s probably the most surprising thing about this album is how well ’Whiskey Girl’ is doing. ’Whiskey Girl’ is kind of that third single we kind of threw out to get to the next album. It’s a little rough. It’s a little rowdy. It’s not classic country. It’s a little bit raw and ragged — and rowdy. It’s flying. … I’m pretty shocked. I figured it would be a little slower than it is, but it’s really flying.”

“Whiskey Girl,” which he performed on the CMT 2004 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards, is now No. 16 after only seven weeks on the Billboard country singles chart.