Jason Aldean Pays Tribute To Toby Keith At 2024 ACM Awards


The 2024 ACM Awards were a particularly bittersweet affair this year. While the event celebrates the latest accomplishments in the genre, this year’s was spent mourning the loss of one of its brightest stars with the passing of Toby Keith. Paying tribute to the late artist was another icon of country music, Jason Aldean.

Country music singer-songwriter Toby Keith was 62 when he died on February 5 following a debilitating battle with stomach cancer. The Academy of Country Music Awards, held on May 16 this year, saw 27-time chart topper Aldean honor Keith with a powerful, emotional performance of one of Keith’s most celebrated works.


The 2024 ACM Awards Celebrate Toby Keith’s legacy as an artist and as a man

Jason Aldean covered one of the most famous Toby Keith songs out there / YouTube screenshot

The ACM Awards set time aside to pay tribute to the “Red Solo Cup” singer on Thursday. First, Blake Shelton spoke of Keith’s success as a singer and the strength of his character.


RELATED: Toby Keith’s Son Reacts To Father’s Induction Into Country Music Hall Of Fame

“Toby was a big star in every way,” Shelton, 47, began. “He sold more than 44 million albums, 33 number-one hits, and 14 ACM awards, including entertainer of the year, but, in the end, the mark that Toby left was much more than just that.”

He went on, “Toby was a loving husband. He was a proud father. He was larger than life. He would always shoot you straight right to the very end of his brave ride that ended way too soon.”

Jason Aldean paid musical tribute to the late Toby Keith at the 2024 ACM Awards

Audiences and family members were visibly overcome with emotion / YouTube screenshot

The mournful celebration continued when Aldean ascended the stage and sang an acoustic version of “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” Released in 1993, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” was Keith’s debut single that quickly reached number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs. It also became a minor crossover hit when it reached number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The crowd sang along to Aldean’s gentle rendition. Keith’s family, who was in attendance, was visibly moved to tears by the powerful moment.

Keith has been honored at several high-profile events in recent months / Kristin Callahan/ACE Pictures web:

Hearts only continued to ache as Reba McEntire then spoke after Aldean finished singing. “Toby, we’ll never forget you. I kinda feel like you’re here with us tonight,” she said in his honor.

Over the last few months, Keith has been celebrated by several institutions, including the CMT Music Awards, where Brooks & Dunn also covered “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” along with Carrie Underwood, who sang it at the Grand Ole Opry last month.

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