“I remember one night, it was after an award show,” he recalled, “and Toby had been up for like four or five awards and, man, he didn’t win crap that night. I was talking to him after that and I had the nerve—I was so excited to be able to get under his skin—I said, ‘Man, Toby, if I ever make it big enough one day and I get nominated for some awards, I hope it’s against you.'”
But Toby had a different reason for saddling up with the young buck on tour.
“I swear, Toby looked at me and he said, ‘You know why I brought you out on tour with me?’ And I said, ‘No,'” Blake continued. “And he goes, ‘I wanted to prove to this industry that I don’t really need an opening act.'”
All jokes aside, the “God’s Country” artist also shared how his fellow Oklahoman shaped his time in music back in the day.
“Watching him, I felt the impact of Toby’s music from the anthems that spoke to the bigger things to the songs that are full of humor and energy and the soundtrack to good times,” Blake reflected. “Man I was out there with Toby for, it was a long time, like almost two years I think. I finally go the point where I was comfortable enough being around him.”
He added, “I love my Oklahoma brother, everybody.”
Meanwhile, Toby isn’t the only honoree of the night. Wynonna Judd is receiving the first Country Champion Award for her career in country music along with her advocacy throughout the years, including working closely with the Wounded Warrior Project and Habitat for Humanity.