Lindsey Haun on Sharing Screen, Stage With Toby Keith

By WADE TATANGELO
McClatchy Newspapers

People attending Toby Keith concerts can expect a pleasant surprise about halfway through the show. That is when Lindsey Haun will arrive to perform her new single “Broken” and then duet with Keith on “Broken Bridges,” which is also the title of their new movie.

Both songs that Haun will sing in concert are on the “Broken Bridges” soundtrack, which came out last week.

When we caught up with 21-year-old, Haun it was the day after she made her concert debut with Keith in front of thousands at a show in Cleveland, Ohio.

What is it like debuting with Keith in front of a packed house of rowdy country music fans?

“Amazing. Fantastic. Toby‘s audience was so cool and alive and they really connected with us on stage. It was the most amazing experience ever. I thought I’d be opening the show – then to find out I’d be playing with him in front of a packed house, it brought tears to my eyes. Nobody in my position gets opportunities like that.”

So, Keith is about 6 foot 4 and you’re, like, what 5 foot 4?

“Even shorter!”

What’s it like standing next to him?

“My neck got a kink in it immediately the first time we met. But it’s nice being on stage with him. I feel really protected by him. I played his daughter for month and a half so that probably has something to do with it.

“I was so nervous at first. I tried not to think about the tour last month and psyche myself up because I used to have awful stage fright. But when I get on stage I just look at Toby and he makes me feel so comfortable and the audience makes it so easy. The first night I was nervous but that went right out the window.”

How is work on the upcoming album going?

“I picked out 30 songs and I’m also writing some on my own … Toby sees me as a crossover artist, which is awesome. I love how country tugs on your heartstring, but I also love rock and jazz and lots of different stuff.”

Let’s talk about the movie “Broken Bridges.” Did you have to affect a Southern accent to play Dixie Delton?

“Actually, even though the family is from the South, my character grew up in Miami. The rest of the cast has thick Southern accents and they were going to have me work on a Miami accent but it go too confusing … The funny thing is the dialect coach had to keep reminding me not to fall into a regional accent because I would pick up a Southern accent from being around Toby and everyone.”

What was it like working with co-star Willie Nelson?

“I worked with Willie a little, Toby had most of the scenes with him. He was really sweet. The first time I met him, Willie he walked in and said `Hello.’ I shook his hand and told him it was such an honor to meet him and his eyes looked so surprised and he said: `Thank you so much.’

“I couldn’t believe someone who had been doing this for so long, such a legend, would react look that. You’d think he’d be jaded by now but he was completely grateful, and real.”

What was your favorite scene from the film?

Toby and I really bonded on set. There is a scene of us writing a song together. The director said “I want you to improve this scene.” So we just went off and did it. That scene is really Toby and I working on a song together. How cool to document something that special!

“I love Toby so much. On set we had such a great relationship. And in the studio it’s even better. He really respects me which is so rare when you have someone as big as him working with someone as little as me.”

What do you say to people who only think of Keith as the guy who sings “We’ll stick a boot in your (butt) /It’s the American way.”

“(Laugh) He is a storyteller. He writes stories in his music and acts them out very well. All those characters are very three-dimensional. In this movie, people get to see another side of him, a darker more troubled side. I think it will be really interesting for his fans to see a different side to that `boot in the butt’ (giggle) stereotype.”

You found out that you got the movie role and were being signed to Keith‘s record label, Show Dog Nashville, all in the same day. What did you do to celebrate?

“Not much. I got the phone call and then had to pack and leave for Atlanta. We went out to dinner and then I had to pack and get my butt out there.”

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