Keith Whitley Benefit Concert and Hall of Fame Exhibit On The Way
Keith Whitley is gone, but he will not be forgotten. And the legacy he left behind during his short and troubled life still reverberates throughout country music today, and constitutes a legacy that is nothing short of legendary. This is one of the reasons the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville chose to commission a special exhibit on the Kentucky native’s contributions to country, which is set to open on May 3rd. And now a big tribute concert is also being organized in Whitley’s honor to coincide with the new Hall of Fame exhibit, and the 30th Anniversary of Keith Whitley’s passing on May 9th, 1989.
The All-Star tribute concert is set for Thursday, May 9th at the Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater. Garth Brooks is set to perform, who upon his induction to the Hall of Fame in 2012 commented that he believed Whitley should have gone in before him. Also performing are Trisha Yearwood, Mark Chesnutt, “Murder on Music Row” writer Larry Cordle, Caleb Daugherty, Kevin Denney, Tom Buller, Wesley Dennis, Joe Diffie, Corey Farlow, Carl Jackson, Cory and Dustin Keefe, Tracy Lawrence, Mark Wills, Darryl Worley, and Jesse Keith Whitley, who is helping to organize the event with his mother and Keith Whitley’s widow, Lorrie Morgan.
“I cannot express what an honor it is for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to recognize the late, great Keith Whitley as such an important part of country music history,” says Lorrie Morgan. “He was not only instrumental in giving me the confidence I needed as an artist, but through the years he has given many other up-and-coming stars the confidence and true grit they have acquired by loving and listening to the music of Keith Whitley. This exhibit is not just Keith’s life in music, but it also depicts his love for country and bluegrass music. Keith always felt inadequate of the recognition he deserved. Keith was the most humble, generous, and truly the most talented man I have ever known.”
Lorrie Morgan has been a strong advocate for the legacy of Keith Whitley over the years, and Whitley’s name has been rumored to be in strong contention for Hall of Fame induction in the Modern Era category, which could happen in the coming years. The Hall of Fame featuring Whitley in both an exhibit and a tribute concert is a good sign for advocates of the late singer.
Keith Whitley started in country music as a member of Ralph Stanley’s bluegrass band. In 1988, Whitley had two #1 singles “When You Say Nothing At All” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” off the album Don’t Close Your Eyes, and was expected to become a superstar in country music in the coming years. He was just three weeks away from being invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was riding the “Class of ’89” wave that was bringing country music to new heights when he died at 33-years-old from alcohol poisoning.
Tickets for the tribute show go on sale Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m. Central at cmatheater.com.
March 25, 2019 @ 8:21 pm
Love Wesley Dennis and Kevin Denney, rumored had it Wesley was releasing an album last year but nothing came of it. I am surprised Ken Mellons isn’t on the card. Sounds like it will be a great show. These are the guys who should be played on country radio.
March 26, 2019 @ 5:57 am
Wesley Dennis is a amazing Country Artist, funny story his last record Country Enough was recorded in New Brunswick by Dirt Road Records, it’s a shame he got on to country radio when the peak of neo traditionalist was going down. But anyways i’m still glad that this little Canadian province gets to reckonize genuine Country and didn’t turn over our roots like Nashville and etc
H.P. @ Hillbilly Highways
March 25, 2019 @ 8:46 pm
Welcome news. “I fought with the devil, got down on his level, but I never gave in so he gave up on me” is both an accurate description of several years of my life and the watchwords that got me through them.
Sir Adam the Great
March 26, 2019 @ 3:37 am
I always loved those lines too. You don’t hear much like them anymore.
March 26, 2019 @ 9:10 am
”I always loved those lines too. You don’t hear much like them anymore.”
you sure don’t, sir adam …and for my money , at is THE biggest problem with the genre….even bigger than the fact that nobody can sing . the best vocalists in recent years ( ronnie dunn , josh turner , easton corbin , joe nichols) can’t get the time of day from mainstream . and that is OUR loss as fans of great lyrics and great voices.
March 27, 2019 @ 3:09 pm
Song was written by Sonny Curtis–who also wrote “I Fought The Law,”–a hit for the Bobby Fuller Four and later The Clash and Hank Jr.–and “Love Is All Around,” sung by Curtis himself, as the theme for the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Sounds like the kind of songwriter who when he gets a call from his publisher at the end of the day saying “We need a song for So-and-So–Do you have one?,” he answers “Yes” and then goes and writes it and brings it in the next morning.
March 25, 2019 @ 9:55 pm
wow tom buller
March 26, 2019 @ 8:28 am
Yes, big opportunity for Tom. His record was the biggest discovery last year around these parts.
March 25, 2019 @ 10:25 pm
His albums should be required listening for every new artist signed in Nashville, to be honest.
March 26, 2019 @ 7:23 am
Really? I think bad R&B should be.
March 26, 2019 @ 7:43 am
Is that how MM got her game?
March 27, 2019 @ 2:32 am
Got her game? If you’re gonna make a joke, at least have it make sense. 😙
March 26, 2019 @ 7:24 am
Hands down the greatest of all time as far as I’m concerned! And I also wished Ken Mellon’s should be on the card.
March 26, 2019 @ 8:37 am
Any tribute to Keith is well deserved! I have been fortunate enough to attend the last three tribute concerts at the Nashville Palace. I used to attend the Labor Day get together at Keith’s old house in Sandy Hook(Keith’s mom was the greatest!!). I am really hoping the inclusion of Garth and Tricia for the concert doesn’t result in me to get shut out for a ticket. I believe that Wesley Dennis is the best living traditional country singer alive today. I will also really miss Ken Mellon’s and was hoping Davis Daniel would also be included. I am not complaining, but always wonder why Ricky Skaggs never participates in any of Keith’s tributes. Would also love to see the inclusion of members of his Miami Band. Randy Hayes is the only member who ever attends such tributes. I know Carson Chamberlain and his wife had real issues with Lorrie. Carson was Keith’s close friend and band leader for years(and also an amazing steel player). I was hoping 30 years passed would have healed those wounds. I really hope Keith gets inducted in HOF next year!!!
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 26, 2019 @ 10:48 am
It’s really fantastic that Kevin and Wesley are included. They both should’ve been stars.
March 26, 2019 @ 12:09 pm
Keith one of the 3 greatest country singers who ever lived and he only released 5 country albums. His legacy deserves this tribute and more. Also great for Tom Buller who is one of the best country singers on the planet.
September 12, 2019 @ 4:05 pm
I know this is old, but i would like to know who your other 2 singers would be if you wouldnt mind saying.
September 12, 2019 @ 6:36 pm
George Jones and Vern Gosdin. George sang with more soul and emotion and completely immersed in the lyric. George had the range, tone and phrasing that already had him as the greatest. He knew what to do with a lyric, words clipped, stretched, some whispered and some cried out but all instinct get the absolute most emotion out of a lyric. George just knew how to sing and he didn’t sing trying to sound good, he didn’t care about vocal tone. Zero restraint, all emotion. I’d argue he ranks as one of the most soulful singers of any genre. Literally the top singer in the country genre for nearly 4 decades. He was the master of sad ballads, master of fast paced material, and also the master of duets. There is a reason every country great has said Jones is the greatest. It’s because he really is the greatest. Vern is the closest to Jones in terms of soul and emotion and vocals combined. Unfortunately Vern spent majority of career on underfunded labels and never got a big break until later in his career, and shortly after began having major health issues. Whitley was great and I mean great and possibly had a more natural romantic tone, and his voice was also naturally soulful but not quite to the soulful or emotional level of Jones. Whitley also not as developed of a singer as Jones either. The harsh reality for Whitley is he only got to release 3 country albums and the first one wasn’t his best work. You could also argue Randy Travis outsang him “on the other hand” and that Straits version of “Fort Worth” is equally impressive vocally. Keith was great and is the biggest “what if” story country music will ever know. The man had a one in a trillion voice no doubt.
March 26, 2019 @ 3:25 pm
Keith was my favorite singer from day 1. He always kept it real country. Sad day for country music when he died. “New” country is just an awkward imitation of him and those that came along before the turn of this century. Only a few exceptions.
March 26, 2019 @ 3:48 pm
Keith left us way too soon. He had such a golden voice that was loved by all. If only he could have help, what a career he would have had .
March 26, 2019 @ 5:45 pm
Just a few more comments. Keith passed away at the age of 34, not 33 like it is widely reported. Keith received in patient treatment for his alcoholism on at least four separate occasions. The last time was in the summer of 1986. He went out to the Hazeldon Foundation in Minnesota that summer(he recorded Tell Lorrie I Love Her the evening before he left). Hazeldon is widely regarded as the top treatment facility in the USA. Sadly, he was drunk when he got off the plane returning home to Nashville. Keith never seemed to engage or fully participate in any type of treatment program. I was fortunate enough to see Keith in concert on 7/14/88. He has been my favorite since that day. Please allow me to say it one more time, the greatest country singer of my generation.
March 28, 2019 @ 7:22 pm
Whitley was 33–two months shy of 34–when he died. That’s per all available reports, per a Google search.
If you have what you think is better information, you should post it to Wikipedia and let others respond.
March 30, 2019 @ 8:43 am
I am basing that statement on Lorries own comments and pictures showing his actual birth certificate. It was when he went to Japan with JD that it listed his age as a year younger. People have speculated he did so as a joke or the year was entered incorrectly. If I am wrong, I apologize. This is the information I received from Keith’s top followers. I will get together the information I received and will forward you those references. Thanks
April 2, 2019 @ 2:14 pm
Friends of Keith Whitley is a Facebook site run by his sister in law Flora. Look at 8/14/18 post. Shows photo of Passport with 1954 date. All sites run by family and fan clubs list 1954 as official date. Statue in Sandy Hook and KY. Music HOF also have 1954 date. If you google, you can find several articles that explain the error. Wilkipedia is incorrect. Many of those same sites list his first name as Jesse. Feel free to contact that site or any other that is run by a real Keith Whitley fan to verify. That is the better information!
April 2, 2019 @ 4:12 pm
OK, then someone should go on Wikipedia and correct it.
I’ve done that a couple of times on Wikipedia. It’s actually easy. If it’s a controversial topic, it can get changed back. I’m not sure who decides.
October 23, 2020 @ 9:48 pm
Luckyoldsun, I hope you are doing well. If you look in Pinterest under name Carrie Huff you will find both the Birth Certificate and passport with birthdate of 1954. It is in her memorabilia section. Stay Safe. Jim
March 27, 2019 @ 3:15 pm
Eeriest thing is hearing Keith’s recording of “I’ve Done Everything Hank Did But Die,”–considering that he went and did that, too–in similar circumstances.
March 30, 2019 @ 7:49 am
The tickets for the show sold out so quickly. I wanted to see it so badly. Wish they had booked a bigger venue. I wish it was going to be all of Keith’s band backing the acts like the other commenter said. He was so special. There will never be another like him.
March 30, 2019 @ 7:50 am
Someone needs to produce a movie of his life. I can’t believe someone hasn’t already.
March 30, 2019 @ 10:26 am
Keith Whitley is one of the best country singers in my book . In I sure miss good country music like his and many other good country singers we have lost through the year’s .In they are proberly looking down from haven shaking there head’s saying what happend to country music ?Just today’s country music just isnt country any more i miss the real country music we use to have the kind that pulled at your heart strings . The kind you could relate to in life with things going on in your own life. Today’s country music sounds more like pop music not country music. I sure dont call it country music that’s for sure.
December 29, 2019 @ 2:21 pm
Will this happen again anytime soon like in 2020??????