Hear Toby Keith pay tribute to a country music legend with this breathtaking Opry performance Grand Ole Opry/YouTube screenshot
Grand Ole Opry/YouTube screenshot

One of the problems with social media is often times when celebrities pass away, EVERYBODY floods social media to “mourn” their passing. In truth, what you end up with are fans overstating how much they loved them while celebs either offer a generic line about how great they were or how much that person influenced him/her as an artist.

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Toby Keith, however, doesn’t have an insincere bone in his body. When Merle Haggard passed away on April 6, 2016, the world did what it does and flooded social media. Only three days later, many forgot he even passed away.

Toby doesn’t forget though.

Toby was not just a huge fan of the man, he was a huge friend to Merle in life and as it appears, in death. While the world has moved on, Toby is determined to make sure everyone doesn’t forget The Hag or the music he left us. When Keith took to the Opry stage on May 20, he took that opportunity to step inside the hallowed circle and perform a medley of his fallen friends’ songs that country fans and future generations of artists would be well-served to never forget.

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If ever there was a voice that fit Merle’s songs, its Toby’s, and you can hear it on “Mama Tried,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Silver Wings,” “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink,” “Workin’ Man Blues” and “Okie From Muskogee.”

Here’s to you Merle, and to you too, Toby, for keeping Hag’s music alive.

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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