Toby Keith

Toby Keith performs last year during the American Country Countdown Awards at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

AP

Country music superstar Toby Keith is going to be rolling into Marion on the back of a Harley, followed closely by his highly anticipated “The Interstates & Tailgates Tour.”

Keith will be playing in Chattanooga the night before he is scheduled to headline the Black Diamond Harley-Davidson Summer Concert Series on June 17, with Nashville hit-makers David Lee Murphy and Kendell Marvel also performing.

“Toby plans on riding his bike to the show,” says Black Diamond co-owner Shad Zimbro. “He truly is a motorcycle enthusiast. They told me he has nine Harleys. Maybe it will be 10 before he gets out of town.”

Zimbro said inking a contract with Keith is serious business and a great opportunity for local music fans.

“He has been one of the top grossing concert tours over the last five years,” Zimbro says. “He is going to put on a high-energy show for two hours. His list of hits is a mile long. And he is constantly going overseas to perform for the American military troops. Ticket sales have been strong. I'm feeling great about the entire weekend.”

Colt Ford and LoCash will be the featured acts kicking off the weekend on June 16, with special guest McCoy. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $28 for pit and $38 premium VI-pit, front and center. Additional fees apply to online purchases.

Tickets for Keith, Murphy, Marvel and Waterloo Revival are $48 for general admission, $68 for pit and $88 for VI-pit.

For more information, call the dealership at 618-997-4577 or visit the website at blackdiamondhd.com.

Lawn chairs will be permitted at the back of the general admission area.

This is an outdoor venue and the concert will remain outside, rain or shine, and no refunds will be issued for any reason. Because of this policy, Zimbro says many concertgoers may wait until the last minute because of weather concerns, which means the choice seats may already be sold.

“Anytime you deal with Mother Nature, it's a gamble. We're staying positive and planning on perfect conditions,” Zimbro says.

A former oil field worker and semiprofessional football player, Keith stuck by his guns early in his career. When labels repeatedly rejected “Should've Been A Cowboy,” he kept pounding on doors until executives at Mercury Records finally answered. The song shot to the top of the charts and he never looked back.

Keith has placed an amazing 35 songs in the Top 5 of the Billboard charts since debuting in 1993, including “As Good As I Once Was,” “I Love This Bar,” “American Soldier,” “I Wanna Talk About Me,” “Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue” and “Who's Your Daddy?'

The 55-year-old Oklahoma native has won multiple Entertainer of the Year awards, sold out many stadium shows and sold albums by the millions. However, he counts his 2015 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as his crowning achievement.

“I've been writing songs every single day of my life since I was 15 or 16. I had to write 500 songs before I wrote a great one. It didn't take me 500 songs to write the next one,” Keith states in a news release for his newest album “35 mph Town,” explaining the painstaking trial-and-error process that must be experienced while learning the craft of songwriting, an art that he mastered and has propelled him to the top of the entertainment pyramid.

Keith will be on stage in Marion with a couple songwriting heavyweights.

Murphy is a Herrin native. He displayed his vocal chops on “Loco,” “The Road You Leave Behind,” “Every Time I Get Around You,” radio classics “Party Crowd” and “Dust On The Bottle,” plus outlaw favorite “Gettin' Out The Good Stuff.”

As a writer, Murphy inked “The Only Way I Know” and “Big Green Tractor” for Jason Aldean, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” for Thompson Square and several Kenny Chesney hits, including “Living In Fast Forward,” “Pirate Flag,” “Til It's Gone” and “Bar At The End Of The World.”

“David Lee has not played a local concert in seven years. It's good to get him back home and on stage with Kendell. They have known each other for a long time. Getting to see them on the same night, and they both get to perform a full set, will be special,” Zimbro said.

Marvel, who grew up in Thompsonville and Galatia, helped write current Chris Stapleton single “Either Way.” He also penned “Right Where I Need To Be” for Gary Allan, “Twang” for George Strait and a trio of Jake Owen hits, including “Startin' With Me” and “Don't Think I Can't Love You.” He has a highly anticipated album of original material scheduled for release later this year.

Waterloo Revival is a duo from Austin, Texas who have been friends since grade school. Their five-song recording “What Guy Wouldn't” has a Justin Timberlake vibe, especially on potential line dance anthem “Backwood Bump.” After an unexpected meeting with Keith's manager, they were signed to TKO Artist Management and Keith's Nashville record label Show Dog.

The Friday concert features the groundbreaking country rap style of Ford, which heavily influenced the high energy shows of LoCash, a Southern Illinois crowd favorite for many years. 

VINCE HOFFARD can be reached at 618-658-9095 or vincehoffard@gmail.com.

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