Toby Keith and Trace Adkins Are ‘Making Up for Lost Time’
Toby Keith and Trace Adkins share more than just a stage on their American Ride tour. The two country superstars enjoy a deep-rooted friendship that goes back many years. When tours are packaged at the beginning of any season, artists are often paired together by labels, or, in many cases, the headliner's management. But when Toby and Trace toured together last year, they both realized it was a perfect fit. The pair share many connections that were made very early on in their respective careers.
"In my opinion, it's making up for lost time," Toby tells The Boot. "We go way, way back to the days before either one of us ever came to Nashville, and the connections that we have are pretty ironic to say the least. The guy who was my road manager for several years and became my production manager out here [in Oklahoma] is David Milam. His parents own Milam Booking Agency, and they didn't book me back in the bar days, they booked me after I had some hits in Texas. Both his parents not only booked Trace, but John Milam was his manager that brought him to Nashville. So I always had that connection there, and then he had his band, and I had mine. We were always playing some of the same bars. I'd play a club, he'd play a club. I'd see him his picture up and mine would be hanging up, too. We didn't play much together because we were never at the same bars at the same time."
Toby and Trace got record deals about the same time. When both started having hits, their paths began to cross. "I'd see Trace around, and I got to know Trace," reflects Toby. "For some reason, we worked with about everybody but we didn't work with each other. So last year, we had the chance. We had so much fun. He told me he was wanting to branch out and stretch his wings a little bit. And, I said, 'Well, come on my label, and I'll let you make whatever album you want to make ... if you're interested in a label switch.' I didn't hear any more about it, and over the winter he called me. He said, 'You know what? I talked to you last summer about that. We had a ball out there, and I think I want to do it.' I asked him why, and he said, 'We just had so much fun. I need some fun in my life.' I said, 'Come on.'"
Toby acknowledges the two share more than just a love of music. "He loves to laugh, and I love to laugh," says Toby. "He's got a great sense of humor. "We're both big dudes. James Otto [who is also touring with them] is a big dude too. For the first time in my career, I'm the smallest guy on the tour. I'm 6'4" but they're both bigger than me."
To check out the remaining dates on the American Ride tour, click here.