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Amy’s Artist of The Week – Toby Keith

This week’s ‘Artist of The Week’ is Toby Keith. As we continue to pay tribute to Toby’s career, I thought starting from the beginning would be a good start.

Toby Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma, one of three siblings. The family lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but moved to Moore, Oklahoma when he was still young.  Before the family moved to Moore, he visited his grandmother in Fort Smith during the summers. His grandmother owned Billie Garner’s Supper Club in Fort Smith, where Keith became interested in the musicians who came there to play. He did odd jobs around the supper club and started getting up on the bandstand to play with the band. He got his first guitar at the age of eight.This was the start of his love for music!

After the family moved to Moore, Oklahoma, Keith attended Highland West Junior High and Moore High School, where he played defensive end on a football team. Keith graduated from Moore High School and worked as a derrick hand in the oil fields. At the age of 20, he and his friends Scott Webb, Keith Cory and Danny Smith, with a few others, formed the band ‘Easy Money,’ which played at local bars as he continued to work in the oil industry.

In 1982, the oil industry in Oklahoma to decline and Keith soon found himself unemployed. He fell back on his football training and played defensive end with the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers while continuing to perform with his band. (The Drillers were an unofficial farm club of the United States Football League’s Oklahoma Outlaws; Keith tried out for the Outlaws but did not make the team.) He then returned to focus once again on music. In 1984, ‘Easy Money’ began playing the honky tonk circuit in Oklahoma and Texas. The band cut a single titled “Blue Moon”, which received some airplay on local radio stations in Oklahoma.

Then in the early 90’s, Toby headed for Nashville, and the rest is history! Toby signed with Mercury records and found success with his first #1 hit song ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy.’ The self-titled album also went certified platinum!

Enjoy Toby’s first #1 hit on  Billboard country charts, ‘I Should’ve Been A Cowboy!’

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