Kelsea Ballerini Shares Details Surrounding Toby Keith Tribute at CMT Music Awards

For over 30 years, Toby Keith shared his love for music as he toured the country, playing in front of thousands of fans. Winning numerous awards throughout his time in the spotlight, the country star released an impressive 19 studio albums. He also sold over 40 million albums worldwide. While holding a special spot in country music, on February 5, 2024, Keith sadly passed away after battling stomach cancer. With all of country music taking a moment to remember the singer, Kelsea Ballerini recently discussed how the CMT Music Awards will honor Keith. 

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Hosting the awards on Sunday, Ballerini sat down with Taste of Country to talk about the awards and Keith. Preparing for a special tribute for the country icon, performers like Lainey Wilson, Sammy Hagar, and Brooks & Dunn will grace the stage to remember their friend. Sharing the news on Instagram, Hagar wrote, “I’m honored to be part of this tribute to my dear friend Toby Keith. I’m thinking “I Love This Bar” would be the appropriate song choice… don’t ya think?”

Kelsea Ballerini Considers Toby Keith A Singer Who Could “Do All Of It”

Not giving away too many details surrounding the tribute, Ballerini noted the night will be emotional.“Toby was such a staple in so many ways in country music. Having this time and this space to honor him, I think it will be emotional, but also celebratory.” Explaining the type of person and performer Keith was, she added, “He was one of those artists who was able to have heart, and then also party. He was both things. “There was never, ‘I’m just this kind of artist,’ there was always this exploring full range of songwriting … full range of life.”

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind the Song Toby Keith Called “So Stupid It’s Good,” “Red Solo Cup”]

Detailing Keith’s wide range when it came to country music, Ballerini insisted, “Whether that be a party song, or a beautiful ballad that makes you feel all of your feelings, I think the artists that have the legacy he does, are the ones that really do all of it.”

Don’t miss the CMT Music Awards, airing on April 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. The event will also be available to stream on Paramount+. 

(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

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