Finding A Star…The Rest of the Story

imageThat night at Chastains was a night that I will probably will never forget. Toby introduced us to some of his family and friends in between sets, and the band and Toby sounded great. He sang several songs that he had written, and also a rock song with a rap in the middle. It was the first time I had heard anything like that, but it worked! It really worked! Creativeness in music and songwriting was certainly one of his strong characteristics. I don’t think there’s much that he wouldn’t try musically, and he seemed to just have the gift for putting it all together and producing something that makes you want to hear it over and over. The night went by way too fast, and we all made plans to meet for breakfast in the morning.

I believe it was a Denny’s. Present were myself, Toby, Mr.Shedd and Fred Cortez, who was Toby’s close friend and owner of Chastains. After what seemed like small talk that would never end. Harold said something close to this,

“Well I’m interested in doing a record on you….”

Toby immediately replied, “I want you to produce me.”

So there the conversation began of the timeline and what that might look like, and then one small detail…

Toby asked, “What about the band?”

“Well you can use any band you want on the road, but I don’t need a band on the label.”

Toby truly was the backbone of the band, but I’m sure it was still very disappointing for those other men who had played with him for quite some time. But business is business so Toby Keith solo artist was about to get his big chance.

I excused myself to the ladies room, and on my way back out, Toby and I were face to face in the small bathroom entryway. We were both speechless really. I think I let out some kind of immature girly squeal and hugged him. Neither one of us could have fathomed the road that lie ahead.

It was several months before recording actually started. The project fittingly titled
Toby Keith, was recorded at the famous Music Mill Recording Studio in Nashville.
The label staff were throwing around the idea of which song to use as the first single. They decided on a song, which would later be given the title of the most played country song of the 1990’s. That song, Shoulda Been A Cowboy was Toby’s first number one song, and still one of my favorites.

I continued to stay close to Toby and his career that first year.  I can remember thinking, wow that was easy!  But in reality I would come to learn that these types of success from an artist on their first album are pretty rare.  Many times it takes lots of trial and error, and even then there are problems such as record companies closing down, and getting radio to even play your songs.  Yes, I learned a lot during that time about the business of music.

One afternoon Toby called me up, and asked me if I would be interested in working with his Fan Club. I immediately said yes, but fear shot up through the back of my neck like it was on fire.  He asked me to get back with him about a time that we could talk about the details.  I said I would, and hung up the phone.

What have I done?  I don’t know anything about a fan club?  Did he say, “working with his fan club” or “running his fan club?”  What if I screw it up.  What if I don’t know what I’m doing….what if….what if
What if he can’t pay me….I can’t quit my Flight Attendant job.  So here is where I did what I had done so many times in my life, I didn’t respond back to him, out of fear.  I was afraid to try.  Afraid to fail.  Afraid of disappointing him.  Afraid that in the big world of the Country Music business, I would look stupid.  Fear and Pride, the bondage that kept me from trying to do a job that might have eventually led me to my dream of working in the Music Business.

Over the years we have kept in touch and my family and I make it out to a show when we can. I still love music, but God has given me another passion, to help others in recovery, and serve him. Through Toby’s support, we are able to give Life Recovery Bibles to the women in the jail ministry class. God is good, and he knows what he’s doing, even when we have no clue😊

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