Toby Keith at Cruzan Amphitheatre, October 15
Oklahoma-born, Nashville-based country troubadour Toby Keith has risen to megastardom in the heartland — and beyond! — by carefully toeing all of country music's party lines. Whereas recent stars of the genre have often fashioned themselves either as sensitive, adult-contemporary balladeers or pretty-boy rock types, Keith remains stoically cowboy-like and unabashedly political. Of course, that means his politics aim right for the middle. This is the guy who wrote "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)" and who feuded with the Dixie Chicks for daring to disapprove publicly of George W. Bush.
When he isn't supporting the stars and stripes, though, Keith is crafting the kind of sing-along hits that sound best after a few beers, among them jukebox staples like "As Good as I Once Was" and the last-call anthem "I Love This Bar." Keith too is known for his much-anticipated, nearly annual tours, which usually feature big-budget production and up-and-coming support acts. This time around, that means J.T. Hodges, a Fort Worth native enjoying a hit in debut single "Hunt You Down," and Eric Church, who, in his album Chief, enjoyed number-ones earlier this year on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country charts.
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