2024 CMT Music Awards: Toby Keith Tribute Brings Family To Tears

Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar, Lainey Wilson honor Toby Keith with a medley of his hits.

Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar, Riley Green, Lukas Nelson, Lainey Wilson and former Major League Baseball player Roger Clemens team to pay tribute to Toby Keith with one of the most memorable performances at the 2024 CMT Music Awards Sunday night.

Keith, who sold more than 44 million albums and recently received a posthumous induction into the 2024 Country Music Hall of Fame, lost his prolonged battle with cancer in February.

Throughout his career, the proud Oklahoman released 61 singles that charted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and 32 of them made it to No. 1. In 2021, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

The three-song tribute kicked off Brooks & Dunn doing a reimagined version of Keith’s breakthrough hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” which reduced Keith’s family to tears in the audience. At the end of the last chorus, Brooks took his cowboy hat off and raised it in the air.

Hagar changed things up a bit when he took his turn in the spotlight. The ‘80s rocker explained he and Keith had spent much time together in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, over the years and had closed down his Cabo Wabo Cantina many times.

“It’s hard to get thrown out of your own bar, but we did it,” Hagar said.

Keith’s band backed every song in the tribute and launched into “I Love This Bar,” which Hagar covered with gusto as if it were his own hit.

Nelson and Green shared memories of Keith and introduced Wilson to close out the medley.

She bounded onstage for a fervent cover of “How Do You Like Me Now,” complete with a football field on the screen behind her.

Clemmons took the stage, asked the audience in the center and watching on television to raise their red solo cups in the air and repeat after him – “Whiskey For My Men, Beer For My Horses.”

He thanked Keith’s kids and his wife, Tricia, for sharing her husband with the world, provoking Keith’s family to tear up again.