The familiar maxim of the triple threat – singer, songwriter, musician – doesn’t begin to cover it for Toby Keith, one of the modern era’s most complete self-directed hit makers. And Keith’s most recent several months are a remarkably accurate representation of his entire career. He wrote, produced and released his latest song, “Wacky Tobaccy,” whose accompanying music video features Willie Nelson and has quickly become a surprise runaway viral hit, amassing more than 9 million views since its posting. It heralded the release of his latest album, The Bus Songs. This year also sees the continuation of the Toby Keith Interstates & Tailgates Tour presented by Ford F-Series that opened in May with sold out dates in Oklahoma and California, and filled venues nationwide throughout 2016, too.
Toby recently performed at Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard in Nashville and he took the stage at Carnegie Hall for The Cake And The Rain: A Celebration Of The Music Of Jimmy Webb in New York City where he performed Webb’s classic, “MacArthur Park.” The Academy of Country Music honored Keith with their Poet’s Award for songwriting in recognition of his outstanding and longstanding musical and lyrical contributions as a songwriter throughout his career, and his songs’ impact on the culture of country music. Rounding out the beginning of 2017 was the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic which raised $1.6 million, a record-breaking amount of funds for a single event in the Toby Keith Foundation’s history, to aid sick children and their families in Oklahoma.
Top Songs: “American Soldier” “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” “Beer For My Horses”
Touted as “one of the most versatile [acts]” (MLIVE),Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots have shared the stage with Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith – just to name a few. In 2017, the duo hit the road for multiple sold-out shows, including major festivals such as Stagecoach, Faster Horses and Watershed. They also dropped a surprise EP, THE NEXT EPISODE, featuring “Namaste,” the No.1 song for two consecutive weeks on the Comedy Chart, according to Nielsen. It follows the No. 1 debut EP, THE RAGING IDIOTS PRESENTS – THE RAGING KIDIOTS, as well as their No. 1 comedy album, THE CRITICS GIVE IT 5 STARS. Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots have raised millions for charities. The duo just held their 3rd Annual MILLION DOLLAR SHOW at the start of 2018, raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Top Songs: “Everyday is a Good Day” “When I Grow Up” “Namastae”
In country music, a last name like LeDoux casts a big, storied and bittersweet shadow, but it’s one Ned LeDoux doesn’t mind standing in one bit. Having been a drummer in his dad Chris’ band Western Underground since 1998, Ned knew from an early age that he had “no plan b” but to play music, “Once I got the taste of the road, and being in front of a crowd and just the sound of it, it was…freedom.”
When his dad passed away in 2005 from cancer, Ned continued to tour with his father’s band to keep the musical spirit of Chris LeDoux alive. This drove him to pick up the guitar and try his hand at some of his dad’s songs. It started with “Rodeo Man,” and before long Ned had a whole catalogue of his father’s early hits ready to play. When the other band members heard Ned’s voice, he found himself front and center singing at the shows.
Stepping out from behind the drums stirred something inside of Ned that he hadn’t felt before, “It’s a different kind of rush, getting up with a guitar and standing behind a microphone…shoot I’m getting butterflies thinking about it right now.”The timing couldn’t be more right for Ned to pick up a guitar and belt out “Western Skies;” it has been over 10 years since Chris LeDoux passed and he believes people want to hear something new. Ned has boxes of song ideas his dad never finished and is digging through those for inspiration, “I will kind of stick with what dad used to do but bring my own stuff to the table.” In July of 2015, Ned traveled to Nashville with some of those unfinished songs and met up with Mac McAnally to put that inspiration to work. Mac produced Chris’ last two studio records and wrote his hit “Horsepower,” so the collaboration with Ned was a natural fit and lead to the first new Chris LeDoux co-write in nearly two decades. His latest song “Brother Highway” is about all the time he has spent on the road touring with various bands since his days in high school. Ned says he doesn’t even need a road map anymore–that he and the highway are like brothers. He wants to write songs about what he knows, keep the themes simple and harken back to the sound of good ole country music but with an edge. Eventually Ned plans to release an album of new material and include a few of his dad’s songs re-recorded in his own style as a tribute.For the last year, Ned has been steadily touring and opening for acts like Toby Keith, Chris Janson and Randy Houser. Yet now that he is in front of the mic, Ned has a new goal. “There’s an age group who doesn’t know who Chris LeDoux is and I just want to keep his name out there. I want to reintroduce him to people who’ve maybe heard of him but didn’t know what he did. Just carry on his legacy and carry on his music and at the same time show them what I can do.”
Top Songs: “Brother Highway” “Rodeo Man” “Western Skies”