CMT Music Awards: Toby Keith to Be Honored by Lainey Wilson, Brooks & Dunn + More

CMT just announced a star-studded tribute to Toby Keith at the upcoming CMT Music Awards. Lainey Wilson, Brooks & Dunn and Keith’s good friend, Sammy Hagar will perform, backed by Keith’s own band. Lukas Nelson and Rogers Clemens will also make an appearance as well.

Clemens spoke out about Keith’s passing on social media, sharing a heartwarming story, shortly after Keith’s passing was announced.

“This video is from last week in Florida… not sure why I took the mic and felt the urge to sing a Toby song but I know now,” Clemens wrote. “I am so heartbroken with the loss of my good friend Big Dog Daddy. A TRUE friend. When you first met Toby he made you feel like he’s known you for years. There’s no one on this earth that loved his country more. (NO ONE!)

“A great talent, and gentle giant that took no sh– from anybody,” he continued. “He always picked one side of the fence! He loved sports, just about as much as he loved music. I will miss talking late night baseball with my dude. Rest assured Big Dog I will be singing your songs any chance I get!”


Keith was recently announced as an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, along with John Anderson, and guitarist James Burton. Keith’s induction was determined prior to his passing, with the final votes tallied the same day his death was announced.

“This year, we anticipated receiving the names of our final inductees, on Tuesday, February 6,” Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, said when the news was announced. “As we know, we woke up that morning to the heartbreaking news that our friend, Toby Keith, had lost his long battle with stomach cancer. What’s bittersweet is that just a few hours later, our team received word that he had been elected into the Modern Era category. Truly one of the greatest honors of my job is getting to inform these inductees that they are the newest members of the hallowed class.

“My heart sank that Tuesday afternoon, knowing that we missed the chance to inform Toby while he was still with us,” she added. “But I have no doubt that he’s smiling down on us, knowing that he’ll always be as good as he once was.”

Other performers for the CMT Music Awards include Trisha Yearwood, Little Big Town with Sugarland, Cody JohnsonJelly Roll, Ballerini, Megan Moroney with Old Dominion  Keith Urban,  Bailey ZimmermanSam Hunt, Dasha and NEEDTOBREATHE with Jordan Davis.

Johnson, Wilson, Jelly Roll and Ballerini have the most nominations, with three each, including each one nominated for Video of the Year. See the complete list of nominees here.

The CMT Music Awards will air live on Sunday, April 7, at 8:00 PM ET on CBS.

Read ‘2024 CMT Music Awards: Everything to Know About the Live Ceremony’ here.