“The first recordings I can remember listening to as a kid were Bob Wills and Merle Haggard. So when they asked me to do a tribute to the Hag, they go, ‘you need six or eight songs,'” he said in an interview at the Opry. “The first email I sent back was that it’s impossible to pick six or eight songs so you’re going to have to give me a little bit.”
But eventually, Keith put together his set list and performed them at the Opry. Along with his tribute to Haggard, Keith played some of his greatest hits and talked about their inspiration and importance to him.
“The beautiful part about that for me is that I know where I was when I wrote those songs and subconsciously when I’m singing them, I’ll be thinking that was me in a motel room in Dodge City, Kansas and I was writing that never knowing that somebody in Germany could be singing the words back to me,” he said. “To be able to sit there and know right where you were when you wrote that and it was just you and that guitar and now they’re singing it back with you because your music has gone places that you’ve never been. That’s a really good feeling.”
In the interview, Keith also discussed his first time performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 2012.
“The first time I played at the Opry, I had my mother and my grandmother there. Knowing that on the first trip, that I had the people that were the reason that I was even successful with me. It overwhelmed me to have them there and let them experience what they had heard on the radio their entire life,” he said.