Welcome to Episode #5 of Country History X, which looks to tell the history of country music, one story at a time. This is story of the tragic life and death of Keith Whitley who died at the age of 34 due to alcohol abuse, and the conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
It’s that time of year again to consider who might be in the running for the precious few spots as the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. A secret committee commissioned by the CMA is going over their final ballots and whittling down the names to the few who will make it.
Country Music Hall of Fame, David Alan Coe, Dwight Yoakam, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Larry Gatlin, Linda Ronstadt, Maddox Brothers and Rose, Ralph Stanley, Ray Charles, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker, The Judds, The Stanley Brothers, Tompall Glaser, Travis Tritt
From the hills and hollers of Kentucky as a strict traditionalist, to some of the most enterprising and innovative interpretations of the bluegrass form, from beside artists as far ranging as Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Garcia, Tony Rice was American string music incarnate.
Alison Brown, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Chris Hillman, Clarence White, David Grisman, Doyle Lawson, JD Crowe, Jerry Douglas, Jerry Garcia, Keith Whitley, Peter Rowan, Ricky Skaggs, Ry Cooder, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, The Kentucky Colonels, THe New South, Tony Rice
One of the most curious, and maybe one of the most cool developments in music over the last couple of years has been Vince Gill becoming a late career member of The Eagles. It wasn’t a development that came with a lot of fanfare or explanation. With the passing of Glenn Frey in 2016, it just sort of happened.
To help in the COVID-19 recovery effort, the Hall of Fame is planning a special live streaming event that will match up many of the iconic instruments in the “Precious Jewels” collection and other displays with many of the best artists and players of today.
Alison Brown, Ashley McBryde, Bill Monroe, Brad Paisley, Carlene Carter, Country Music Hall of Fame, Dan Tyminski, Dave Cobb, Don Rich, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Kane Brown, Keith Whitley, Lester Flatt, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, Marty Stuart, Miranda Lambert, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, The War and Treaty, Tim McGraw
Let’s be honest. Do we really need yet even more new versions of old country songs? But the wildcard here, and what makes this record worth turning your attention to is that you have the once-in-a-lifetime voice of the great Josh Turner gracing these classic songs.
Allison Moorer, Bruce Robison, Chris Janson, Country State of Mind, George Jones, Hank Williams, John Anderson, Josh Turner, Keith Whitley, Kris Kirstofferson, Maddie & Tae, Patty Loveless, Review, Runaway June, Vern Gosdin, Waylon Jennings
Something that became obvious while watching the Ken Burns documentary is a few of the egregious oversights the Country Music Hall of Fame has been a party to when it comes to its inductees. Unlike other Halls of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame is extremely selective of who they let in, only allowing three new members in each year.
Don Maddox, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams Jr., Hazel Smith, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Marty Stuart, Ralph Stanley, Rosanne Cash, Rose Maddox, The Judds, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, The Stanley Brothers
Not as a rebuke of the work of the documentary, but as an addendum for those who watched and might want to dig deeper into the history of country through some of its more important personalities not represented well in the film, here are some of the Country Music film’s biggest oversights.
Alison Krauss, Billie Jean Horton, Conway Twitty, David Allan Coe, Dayton Duncan, Don Williams, Doug Sahm, Eddie Rabbitt, Emmloyou Harris, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Hank Snow, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford, Johnny Horton, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Martin Murphy, Patsy Cline, Sam Bush, Tanya Tucker, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Vern Gosdin
If you’re a country music fan and are disappointed that your favorite artist didn’t get enough screen time in the Ken Burns film on country music, well guess what, your favorite genre did, and by the most revered documentary filmmaker of our time, and before rock n’ roll, pop, the blues, soul music, or hip-hop.
Alan Jackson, Allen Reynolds, Bill Monroe, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bluebird Cafe, Brooks & Dunn, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Conway Twitty, Dayton Duncan, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, Don Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, George Jones, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Jamey Johnson, Johnny Cash, Kathy Mattea, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Lil Nas X, Little Big Town, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Miranda Lambert, Nanci Griffith, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Rick Rubin, Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, Ryman Auditorium, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, The Judds, Toby Keith, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill
Big names in country music turned out on Tuesday, May 7th, for a benefit concert for Byron Berline and his Double Stop Fiddle Shop in Guthrie, Oklahoma. But immediately as the Turnpike Troubadours began to play, long-time fans of the band could tell something was off with frontman Evan Felker.
It was early May, 1989. Keith Whitley volunteered to take his wife and fellow performer Lorrie Morgan to the Nashville airport to see her off on a promotional trip to Alaska. In a week, Lorrie would be releasing her debut album on RCA Records, ‘Leave The Light On,’ and had tour dates booked to promote the new release.
It really is hard to know just what the hell to do with Aaron Lewis. On the one hand, his music is definitely country, and don’t go citing his former life as the frontman of Staind as some rebuttal to this conclusion. On the other hand, Aaron Lewis comes with a very large amount of baggage.
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 an exhibit and tribute concert.
Caleb Daugherty, Carl Jackson, Corey Farlow, Country Music Hall of Fame, Darryl Worley, Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie, Keith Whitley, Kevin Denney, Larry Cordle, Lorrie Morgan, Mark Chesnutt, Mark Wills, Tom Buller, Tracy Lawrence, Trisha Yearwood, Wesley Dennis
A legend of country music songwriting, and one that put the painful experience of divorce into words and song like none other has gone to the great honky tonk in the sky. Sanger D. Shafer, known popularly as Whitey Shafer, passed away on Saturday, January 12th according to reports.
Connie Smith, Dallas Frazier, George Strait, Jack Greene, John Michael Montgomery, Johnny Russell, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Mo Bandy, Shawn Colvin, Whitey Shafer
There’s just something about certain artists and songs where it only takes a few seconds into a track before a smile cracks across your face, and you immediately know, “This is what I mean when I say country music.” Many had that feeling when they feasted their ears on the self-titled, full-length debut from Texas country artist Randall King.
Kayla Ray has deep Texas roots and comes by her classic country music sensibilities honestly. On Friday (5-4) she releases her sophomore album entitled ‘Yesterday and Me.’ Jason Eady is back as co-producer with Pat Manske. Kayla was kind enough to spare a little time to talk about her new project.
Brennen Leigh, Colton Hawkins, Courtney Patton, Drew Kennedy, Erin Enderlin, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Eady, Johnny Gimble, Kayla Ray, Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard, Midnight River Choir, Noel McKay, Pat Manske, Yesterday and Me
Once again as spring nears, it becomes time for the annual exercise to ponder who perhaps the CMA will deem worthy for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. About this time the secret CMA-approved committee is going over their final ballots and whittling down the precious names to the few who will make it.
Country Music Hall of Fame, David Allan Coe, Dottie West, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams Jr. Dwight Yoakam, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Lynn Anderson, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt. Brooks & Dunn
“I really don’t even know what current country music is anymore. I am as flabbergasted as anyone and have no idea what is country and what is not anymore. I am not a fan of country today. Today’s country can’t be differentiated between pop, and you can’t tell them apart. If you are going to be in the country category and call yourself a country artist, then stick with it.”
It’s always worth a chuckle when you hear someone say that country music must “evolve” to stay relevant, or hear an artist bellyache about how constricting country music is to their creativity. And then you put on a record like this and hear just how much a true artist can do with a simple message and melody, and three chords and the truth.
Courtney Granger delivers a surprising, touching, well-rounded, and frankly stunning performance of classic country tunes made anew by the power and passion behind his voice. Courtney Granger is Cajun music royalty. The grandnephew of the formidable Balfa Brothers, Courtney grew up surrounded by the music of Southern Louisiana, and currently performs in the Pine Leaf Boys.
Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, who passed away on June 23rd, was laid to rest Tuesday evening (6-28) after a public service that included words and performances from Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Jim Lauderdale, Ricky Skaggs, and other close friends and well-known performers in front of the crowd assembled at the Hills of Home Park in Coeburn, VA.
As we get to mid February each year, it comes down to nut cutting time for deciding who the next class of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame will be. Though who gets to decide is a big secret kept by the Country Music Association, or CMA, we all should feel like we have a say so and voice our opinions and hope the right people listen.
Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Chet Flippo, Country Music Hall of Fame, David Allan Coe, Don Maddox, Gram Parson, Hank Williams Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Reed, John Hartford, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Tompall Glaser
So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Alan Jackson, Bill Carter, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jason Isbell, Keith Whitley, Kris Kristofferson, Mo Pitney, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Ricky Skaggs, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Though some may consider Tim McGraw soaring in such high thermals that it’s sacrilege for him to be singing about scraping the bottom and setting out to fulfill your dreams in country music, but that’s exactly what McGraw did on May 10th, 1989 when he boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Nashville—the day after his country music hero Keith Whitley died.