When it comes to entertainers, there are always ones that you either love or hate. There’s no in between.
Without a doubt, Toby Keith is somewhere near the top of that list.
Whether it’s the attitude in his music and presence, his political views or the fact that he’s acquired a great deal of wealth, it seems like many people always have a reason to hate Toby Keith.
Some have attacked his talent and his music, saying he’s just a typical pop-country hack.
As always, I have an opinion.
First, I’d like to address his attitude and political views.
The example I always hear being used is his post-9/11 song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”, more specifically the line about the boot. If you don’t know it, look it up.
Does this song have an attitude? Yes. Does he back it up? Yes.
It’s no secret that Keith has been one of the most active volunteer performers for our troops, doing countless USO tours.
Whether you agree with his views or not, he proudly donates his time to our brave men and women fighting for our country. Automatic respect.
Next, the Toby Keith empire.
Forbes magazine did a feature on Keith in 2013, in which they revealed that he was a “$500 million man”.
This money comes from various business ventures, of course including his music and tours, and his “I Love This Bar & Grill” restaurant chain.
It’s simple: there’s an audience for his restaurants, just like there’s an audience for his music. If people are willing to pay for it, what’s the problem?
The most interesting anti-Toby argument is the quality of his music.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. He’s still a mainstream entertainer, and has to compete with what’s popular, to an extent, to maintain his status. This, in no way, represents his entire body of work.
Keith has proven time after time that he’s a legitimate songwriter. Whether it’s one of his big hits, like “As Good As I Once Was,” or an album cut, like “Bullets In The Gun,” one of my personal favorites, the man knows how to write a good song.
Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson wrote songs that became pop radio hits. Does that take away from all the incredible material they wrote? Of course not.
I’m not saying you have to love Toby Keith. I am saying you might hate him for the wrong reasons.