WATCH: Toby Keith Opens Up On Post-Stomach Surgery Challenges, But Has Some Good News For Fans

Though Toby Keith, the legendary country music singer and songwriter, has mostly been on a three-year sabbatical from singing as he battles back against stomach cancer, his recent on-stage appearance in Las Vegas showed audiences that Keith could be making a comeback now that his stomach surgery is over and the cancer battle is going well.

So, as he gets back into music and performing, Keith appeared on the Bobby Bones Show, an entertainment industry-focused radio show, to talk about his battle with cancer and how it is going. He also spoke about what challenges he has faced as he, now that his stomach cancer battle forced him to take a few year break from singing after years performing, gets back into a very limited performing schedule.

Commenting on that, Keith said, “I haven’t worked a handful of shows in the last three years, but I worked every year for 27-28 years.” He then added that his chief concern was remembering the words, saying, “The only thing I had that concerned me was being away from it for three years and remembering all the words. They subconsciously come to you when you’re working, you don’t even think about it. You know them. Getting completely away from them and having to start back.”

But, though he feared he would have to use a teleprompter to help him remember the words as he gets back in the swing of things, that proved unnecessary. According to the country music legend, he easily refound his groove and the lyrics came flooding back to him.

Though the lyrics issue fortunately turned out to be a non-issue, Keith commented on an unexpected issue that cropped up as he started singing again: finding the stomach muscles to sing loudly and longly. That issue came not just from his not having been singing in recent years, but from the stomach surgery required for his cancer battle.

He said, “The thing I had to overcome—the surgery I had on my stomach they had to stitch on my diaphragm. Not using it to sing every night, that is a muscle. So I had to really work that to get it where I sing really really hard and really really violent and loud, I didn’t have that last 10 percent on the bottom where I could just belt anything. Like when I sang ‘McArthur Park’ at Carnegie Hall, it’s like opera stuff. So, I don’t know if I could do that, but what I do on stage is no problem.”

But, though that was a challenge, Keith remains optimistic. He added that it was an issue, but he is working on it and as he exercises those muscles once again, he and his diaphragm have been getting better and better. He said, “I’ve had to work on that diaphragm, and it’s getting better all the time.”

Watch him here:






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