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 months are a remarkably accurate representation of his entire career. At the close of 2018, he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his debut No. 1 single, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” with the re-release of his debut album (remastered with the addition of three vault tracks), a week of events in Nashville including a BMI event to commemorate the milestone, two shows at the historic Grand Ole Opry, and a performance at the Nashville Symphony Ball where he received the prestigious Harmony Award. Keith also released a new song, “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” which was inspired by a conversation he had with Clint Eastwood and was later featured in Eastwood’s movie, “The Mule.” Rounding out the year full of music-related accomplishments was his 15th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic which raised more than $1 million, bringing the annual event’s total funds raised to $12.4 million, to support the charitable endeavors of The Toby Keith Foundation which includes aiding sick children and their families in Oklahoma.
Opening for Toby is Ned LeDoux. 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, 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 catalog 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.