Jason Aldean Opens Up About His Emotional Tribute For Toby Keith At The ACM Awards

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Jason Aldean recently opened up about his emotional tribute performance at the ACM Awards in honor of his late friend, Toby Keith.

In May, Aldean took the stage to sing Keith’s famous song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” as a heartfelt tribute to the country legend, who passed away in February after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.

During an interview on The Bobby Bones Show, Aldean shared his feelings about that night.

“I felt like Toby deserved a great tribute for the career he had,” Aldean shared. “I knew it was going to be a big night for his family and people that were going to be out there.”

Unlike the original upbeat hit, Aldean’s performance was a slower, more emotional version of the song. Given that Keith’s song has been one of country music’s biggest hits for over two decades, Aldean admitted to feeling nervous about how people would react to the change.

“To be honest, I just didn’t want to mess it up. I wanted to go out and give him a send-off that he deserved. Especially with us kind of changing the song up, you just don’t know how people are going to take that,” Aldean added. “You know what I mean? If they’re going to like it, not like it, or whatever. So for us, it was trying to do something cool and different and something to honor him and his family.”

Thankfully, the newly portrayed rendition paid off, as the performance was well-received, especially by Keith’s family.

“His wife texted me that night after the show, which was really the icing on the cake for me,” Aldean shared. “If [she] approved, I’m cool.”

Keith’s family later released a statement thanking Aldean, calling the tribute the “perfect” way to honor Toby.

Watch Jason Aldean talk about his ACM tribute performance for Toby Keith in the video below.