Just because Toby Keith is playing amid the vineyards of Murphys, don’t expect him to switch to wine for his horses anytime soon.
The country music firebrand boots off the Ironstone Amphitheatre’s summer concert series June 9. The 55-year-old superstar performer makes his first stop in the region in almost two decades, when he last played the Stanislaus and Merced county fairs. Known internationally for his big hits and brash talk, Keith remains one of country’s most recognizable voices.
His career broke out with the tone-setting “How Do You Like Me Now?!” in 1999. The white-hat wearing singer and songwriter has built his fan base on his no-holds-barred, cocky showmanship and flag-waving patriotic anthems. Other hits include “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” “Who’s Your Daddy,” “Whiskey Girl,” “Beer for My Horses” and “Red Solo Cup.”
The Oklahoma native has been an outspoken public figure over the years, as well. He is an avid supporter of the military and troops, performing in front of more than 250,000 servicemen and servicewomen over the past 15 years with the USO. His high-profile has also erupted into high-profile feuds – most notably with fellow country music superstars the Dixie Chicks. The musicians sparred over comments Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines had made over then President George W. Bush and the Iraq War.
More recently, Keith made waves as one of the few big-name stars to agree to perform at Donald Trump’s inaugural celebration. While he has been a vocal supporter of conservative causes over the years, he said his decision had nothing to do with party at the time. He has also played events for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama
“I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military,” he said during an onstage Q&A at the Country Radio Seminar this February in Nashville.
The singer followed Trump out of the country late last month to perform a men-only concert in Saudi Arabia as part of the president’s first foreign trip. Keith played the show, which was open only to men as dictated by the country’s strict adherence to Islamic law, in the capital city of Riyadh alongside Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer.
Opening for Keith at his Murphys show will be the band Grass Roots Revival. The duo of Kentucky native Elvie Shane and Texas-born Russell Sutton is known for its country, Southern rock sound.
Keith’s appearance is the first of a star-studded lineup of performers coming to the grounds of Ironstone Vineyards. The entertainment ranges from rock to country, smooth jazz to classic rock. The remaining schedule is: rest of the schedule is: Boston with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts June 10, John Mellencamp with Emmylou Harris and Carlene Carter on June 17, The Moody Blues on June 18, Jason Mraz on June 25, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie with The Wallflowers on July 21, Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows on July 24, Jake Owen on Aug. 10, Steve Miller with Peter Frampton on Aug. 13, Willie Nelson with Kacey Musgraves on Aug. 18, and George Benson and Kenny G on Sept. 9.