From his debut No. 1 single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to the smash “As Good As I Once Was,” many of singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith’s biggest hits have been inspired by casual conversations and accidental one-liners. But only one of Keith’s songs is born of a chat with Clint Eastwood.
Keith’s December 7 single release “Don’t Let The Old Man In” isn’t just another fortuitous exercise in turning life into music, however. The song will also be featured during the end scene and closing credits of Eastwood’s upcoming film “The Mule.” The story of an older man who becomes an unwitting drug courier, the movie is the first Eastwood will star in and direct since 2009’s acclaimed “Gran Torino.”
The connection began in May when Keith attended Eastwood’s golf tournament in Carmel, CA, and the two shared a cart. Toby asked Clint what he was doing next, to which Clint replied, “Funny you should ask, I am leaving tomorrow to shoot a movie for three months called The Mule.” Clint told him the storyline and Toby asked, “How do you do it, man?” Clint, who is 88 said, “I just don’t let the old man in.” With the movie in mind and the line Eastwood told him, Keith wrote the song and sent it to Clint, who loved it and decided to roll credits with it.
Written solely by Keith, “Don’t Let The Old Man In” is a wearily resolute rebuke to Father Time:
When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in
Recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studio, the song will be available at all digital retailers on Dec. 7.