Country Music World Reacts to Jason Aldean’s Toby Keith Tribute at ACM Awards

With the Academy of Country Music Awards airing live, Reba McEntire took over the stage as she hosted for the 17th time. A professional both on the stage and off, the singer seemed right at home while rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry. But besides honoring singers and handing out awards, the ACM Awards held a special tribute to the late Toby Keith. Given his contributions to country music over the years, Jason Aldean walked on stage to remember not just the country icon but his friend. 

Videos by American Songwriter

Throughout his time on stage, Keith seemed to embody the lifestyle of a country singer and a patriot. Sharing a love for his country, the singer released 19 studio albums. His last, Peso in My Pocket, hit shelves back in 2021. Sadly, in February, Keith passed away after battling stomach cancer for several years. While gone, the ACM Awards made sure not to forget the icon. And with Aldean sharing a friendship with him, there seemed no better person to remember the singer with a special performance that had fans praising both Keith and Aldean

Looking online, fans shared their love for Keith and thoughts on the performance by Aldean. Comments included, “Jason Aldean is killing this Toby tribute.”

Even those who don’t typically tune in for Aldean’s music had to give the country star credit for his tribute cover. “I’m not the biggest Jason Aldean fan but he nailed that tune! One of the greatest country music songs of all time,” wrote one X user.

[RELATED: 4 “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” Covers That Actually Do Toby Keith Justice]

Jason Aldean Shares Impact Toby Keith Had On Him

Before attending the ACM Awards, Aldean discussed the impact that Keith had on him and country music with Fox News. Considering Keith a person who always “spoke his mind”, Aldean insisted, “I think Toby was a guy for a lot of us in the business – well, I’ll speak for myself. I think he was a guy that a lot of us looked up to.”

Detailing what the singer was like, Aldean explained, “He said what he thought, whether it was the popular opinion or not. And it wasn’t, you know, it didn’t always go well for him, and he didn’t care. I mean, it was something that if he felt strongly about it and felt like it was something he believed in, he was going to speak his mind.”

With Aldean close friends with Keith, he continued, “To me, from personal level, that was something to me that was always inspiring, as far as like, ‘Hey, you can still be an artist and be true to who you are and go out and not be afraid to speak out.’ And I think that was something that always kind of stood with me.”

While passing away at 62 years old, it seems that Keith’s legacy continues to echo throughout country music with his legacy never forgotten.  

(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

Leave a Reply

Jason Aldean Pays Tribute To Toby Keith With Heartwarming ACM Performance

Jason Aldean Honors Toby Keith With Heartbreaking “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” ACM Awards Tribute Performance

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton Takes the ACM Awards Stage with a Special Guest for Breathtaking “Think I’m In Love With You” Performance