Toby Keith seems to record one hit record after another. Where is he from and how did he get to be a country singer?
—Karen L., Connecticut
Toby Keith, 41, grew up in Moore, Okla., where musicians who played at his grandmother's supper club inspired him to pick up the guitar. He took a job in the oil fields after graduation, but kept up his music with Easy Money, a band he formed and played with on weekends. When the oil industry slumped, he played two years as a defensive end for the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers, then joined the Oklahoma Outlaws of the short-lived USFL. He kept playing music, though, and when the league folded, he put together a demo tape that impressed former Alabama producer Harold Shedd. His 1993 debut album Toby Keith scored three hits. Keith lives with his wife, Tricia, and three children outside Norman, Okla., where he is completing Dream Walkin' Farms, a thoroughbred breeding and training facility. His newest album, Unleashed, contains the hit single Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American), Keith's reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks.