All posts tagged: longtime yellow-dog Democrat

Toby Keith Had More to Talk About Than His Politics

Toby Keith Had More to Talk About Than His Politics

In the spring of 1993, Mercury Records put three of its new country signees on a bus and sent them on a 15-city tour intended to raise their profile. It was a hell of an assemblage. There was the troubadour John Brannen, who possessed a rootsy sound and a quaver that channeled Roy Orbison’s. He alternated opening and closing slots with a former Oklahoma oil-field worker and semi-pro defensive end named Toby Keith. Playing in between was a brassy Canadian from a hardscrabble background: Shania Twain. It was Twain, in fact, who ran screaming to the front of the bus to tell Keith—who died Monday at 62—that his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” was playing on the radio. “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” would top the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart that summer, establishing Keith as the breakout star of the trio. It was one of 10 songs on his 1993 self-titled debut that he wrote, and it established a persona that got him most of the way through the decade: the regretful romantic. It …