When Toby Keith isn’t working — whether it be on stage or making an appearance at a Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill grand opening (as he did last week)– he is all about setting aside time for family.
Between November 1, when he completes the 50 or 60 shows he does a year, and April or May, when he goes on his USO Tour (he’s done 192 USO shows to date), he can be found hanging out with his family, coaching his sons at football, or giving daughter Krystal Keith a few pointers on her singing career.
The morning show team from KFRG in Riverside, California sat down with Toby late last week for an exclusive interview at an opening for a new I Love This Bar & Grill. Among other festivities, the celebration that night included a live set from Toby’s daughter Krystal (see the photos).
Now that Krystal is making a name for herself in the business, Toby says, “I can save her some of the heartache, and protect her a little bit from media.”
Following in her famous father’s footsteps, Krystal was yearning to take the stage right out of high school. Her hard work is now paying off, thanks to a wise dad who made an agreement with her that if she went to college first, he would help her out. “She did, and she’s done everything I asked her to.”
What is the biggest piece of advice he’s given her? There’s been “a lot” of advice over the years, but “the best,” he jokes, “was to sign with me!”
Toby founded the label Show Dog Nashville in 2005, which became Show Dog-Universal Music. Krystal is currently on the Show Dog-Universal roster with a debut album on the way.
When asked who gets more nervous performing, Toby’s response was, “probably me.”
By way of example, he told of the time he and Krystal performed an endearing version of the James Taylor/Carly Simon hit duet “Mockingbird” during a certain annual event in Nashville (“you know, that award show that I used to do years ago,” Toby said).
But just before father and daughter (who was then 17 years old) took the stage, Toby told Krystal, “if you freak out just look at me and I’ll pull you through.” Her comment to her daddy backstage following the performance, however, was, “gol’, wasn’t as big as I thought it would be.”
In a separate interview with the KFRG team, Krystal Keith talked about growing up with a famous father. He may have been busy with his career, but, she said, he was “always there when we needed him.”
“My dad made sure that we didn’t notice when he was gone. He would always make time for us.” She said she “could not recall a time when he wasn’t there.”
Apparently Krystal isn’t the only musical talent in the Keith household. All three kids sing, and Toby’s tenth-grade son Stelan plays the drums and can “tinker on the piano.” Though Stelen is only 15 right now and big into football, there may come a time when that all changes.
Obviously proud of whatever choices his children make, Toby does admit that “at some point he’s gonna flip and go, ‘you know, what my old man’s done is pretty cool – I think because I’m his son, I ought to go try this.’”
In the meantime, Toby has moved his schedule this year to accommodate his son’s Friday night football games, and he will again help out with coaching. That is, Toby says, “if he lets me.”
– Nanci Haskin/99.5 WYCD Detroit