Toby Keith has called an end to his bitter feud with fellow country star NATALIE MAINES - because he's realised there are far more important things to concentrate on.

The pair fell out when Keith released the track (COURTESY OF THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE) THE ANGRY AMERICAN in the wake of the 11 September (01) attacks on America.

Dixie Chicks frontwoman Maines branded the celebrated song "ignorant", sparking a bitter war of words between the pair.

But Keith, who has himself branded Maines a "big mouth" in the past and attacked her for her stance against the American-led war on Iraq, has decided to step out of the battle.

He says, "You know, a best friend of mine, the guy that started the first band I was ever in, he lost a two-year-old daughter to cancer - this was just a couple of weeks ago. A few days after I found she didn't have long to live, I saw a picture on the cover of COUNTRY WEEKLY with a picture of me and Natalie and it said, 'Fight to the Death' or something. It seemed so insignificant. I said, 'Enough is enough.'"

But while Keith is tired of battling with Maines, he is keen to stress that he didn't start the trouble.

He explains, "People try to make everything black and white. I didn't start this battle. They started it with me; they came out and just tore me up. One thing I've never, ever done, out of jealousy or anything else, is to bash another artist and their artistic license."

29/08/2003 19:59