Toby Keith to Honor Friend Wayman Tisdale at ACM Awards
Superstar Toby Keith will give a special benefit performance of his song 'Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)' Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards to honor his friend, former NBA basketball star and musician Wayman Tisdale, who died last year after losing a battle with cancer. The Academy announced that for the second consecutive year, ACM Lifting Lives is partnering with an artist and a benefiting charity to create a "special moment" on the awards show.
Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz will join Toby for the performance which will support Stand Up To Cancer, the charity selected this year by ACM Lifting Lives.
Toby wrote this song as a tribute to his friend and dedicated it to him on his latest album 'American Ride.' According to blog.newsok.com, Toby intended to play the song at Wayman's funeral but performed Willie Nelson's 'Angel Flying too Close to the Ground,' instead because he wasn't emotionally ready to play 'Cryin' for Me,' (which opens with Wayman's outgoing voicemail message).
During an interview last year with The Boot, the loss of his best friend was still heavy on Toby's heart. "He was a great guy with a charismatic smile," Toby recalled, "and the closest thing to Jesus I've ever met."
Performing this song on stage will be an emotional journey for Toby, but he'll no doubt get through it, although maybe not without shedding a few tears. "It's kind of a goodbye song; it's kind of my way of venting my pain, if you will," says Toby. "I am happy to partner with ACM Lifting Lives and SU2C to donate proceeds of the performance downloads to support this important cause."
Toby's performance of the song is available to pre-order from the iTunes Store today and the audio and video of his performance will be available following the show Sunday night. All proceeds from the downloads will benefit Stand Up to Cancer.
The 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will air live from the MGM Grand Sunday, April 18 on CBS.