Thomas Rhett may have just been honored with the ACM Award for country music artist of the year, but for him, music was always a part of his life. As the son of singer/songwriter Rhett Akins, he grew up spending time on tour buses surrounded by some of the great names in Nashville like George Strait and Garth Brooks. But when it was time for his own career to start, that didn't mean that he fully understood the dedication it takes to actually be on a major tour. As a result, he got scolded by Toby Keith and got some valuable advice.
Rhett explained that he had quite an interesting experience working with Keith back in 2012 on the Live in Overdrive Tour. The country singer explained to Audacy's Rob + Holly that he had been diagnosed with tonsillitis as a result of having mono and he was so sick, his tonsils "were so big in my mouth, they were touching each other in the back of my throat."
"It was my very first tour I'd ever been on," Rhett recalled. "I was 21 years old and Toby brought me out as an opening slot on his amphitheater tour. It was the last weekend of the tour and I was so sick."
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After talking to his tour manager about how he felt like he just couldn't play that night, he went to go break the news to Toby Keith. It definitely didn't go how he expected.
"I walk over to Toby's bus and I walk up there and I notice that he's kind of holding his stomach," he said. "I was like, 'Toby, I'm not going to be able to play tonight, man. I'm too sick, I can't sing.' In a roundabout way of using some other language, Toby said, 'Well, it's alright man, I had my gallbladder taken out early today so if you want to be a pansy about it, be my guest.'"
Well, how do you chicken out after a comment like that? According to Rhett, it was really a "man-making moment."
"Needless to say I went out there and played the show and then threw my guts up the whole night," he added.
Rhett has since gone on to play music festivals, headline four of his own tours, and accompany Lady A, Jason Aldean and Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Miranda Lambert, Dwight Yoakam, and Ashley Monroe on the road. His most recent new album Country Again: Side A features the number one hit "What's Your Country Song" and we know he's got plenty more up his sleeves to come.