Jason Kempin, Getty Images for BMI
"I think the technology has improved exponentially," he maintains to Australian radio's 'Kyle and Jackie O Show' (quote via CMT). "The success of this kind of surgery is much greater than before. I'm hoping I can continue that tradition. At some point in the tour, I hemorrhaged into a vocal cord, and this little polyp formed, and it's not going anywhere. So we have to have it removed. I think it's less dangerous now since the Julie Andrews debacle years ago." (The 'Sound of Music' star had surgery in 1997 which damaged her four-octave vocal range.)
No word yet on when the singer-songwriter will be able to sing again following the operation, but it's a safe bet that the 'Long Hot Summer' hitmaker's love of performing will compel him to return to the stage as soon as he gets approval from his doctors.
"The beautiful thing about playing live is that everybody is in that moment, singing along," Keith tells The Boot of his love for performing. "There are total strangers singing with total strangers, the same song. It doesn't matter how many people, whether it's five or 50,000, it's people connecting and being in the moment. That's what it's all about."
The husband of Nicole Kidman is still listed as a performer for this Saturday's Opry show at the Ryman Auditorium. His latest single, 'You Gonna Fly' from his 'Get Closer' CD is in the Top 30 and climbing.