Since 1990, fans of country music legend Keith Whitley have marked the time near the singer’s July 1st birthday with the Keith Whitley Memorial Ride. Also part of the event over the last few years has been a tribute show, this year taking place at The Nashville Palace.
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.
The Grand Ole Opry will begin celebrating its 95th Anniversary on Saturday, October 3rd, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering for the country music institution’s 4,944th consecutive Saturday night broadcast with Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Terri Clark, and Lorrie Morgan.
When the COVID-19 shutdowns began in mid March, the Grand Ole Opry was one of the only live music institutions that endured, with the first non-audience show transpiring on March 14th with the evening’s regular scheduled slate of performers.
As tax season approaches and we get the opportunity to tie a bow around the doings of 2019, it’s always interesting to look back on the year at the Grand Ole Opry to see which performing members are paying their proper dues to country music’s most historic institution, and which one’s aren’t.
Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Dan Rogers, Dustin Lynch, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Luke Combs, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Rhonda Vincent, Ronnie Milsap, Stonewall Jackson, Tom T. Hall
It’s been over 12 years since Grand Ole Opry member and (potential) future Country Music Hall of Famer Pam Tillis released a solo studio record, but that will all be changing soon as she has announced a new deal, with a new solo record in the works. The 2nd-generation country star was one of the most successful women throughout the 90’s.
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.
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
“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.”
Rich Vanaugh played drums for Kitty Wells and Charlie Louvin, Jeannie Seely and Jack Greene, and Mel Tillis and Dottie West over his long career, but he will forever be known as one of the backbones of one of the most beloved bands in Nashville, the Western swing-inspired supergroup The Time Jumpers, and one of the friendliest musicians you would ever meet.
“They send out a letter that says you know, â€˜We are kind of demanding that you must be here so many times a year to continue your membership.’ Because it’s just not fair,” Lorrie Morgan explains. “People want to say, â€˜Hey I’m a member of the Opry,’ and not want to come back. The Opry takes dedication and it takes love. It takes love.”
Who will be releasing new albums in 2016? What are some of the most-anticipated projects? What are the rumors swirling out there about new albums that may be released in the coming year? Here’s a rundown of upcoming projects from artists recommended by Saving Country Music that you can look forward to in 2016.
Aubrie Sellers, Austin Lucas, Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne, Buddy Miller, Caleb Caudle, Dave Cobb, Don Maddox, Hank Williams Jr., Hayes Carll, Holly Williams, Jack Ingram, Justin Timberlake, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Lucinda Williams, Marty Stuart, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers Band, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Infamous Stringdusters, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Waco Brothers
A group named “Induct Keith Whitley into The Country Music Hall of Fame” has started a campaign to try and get the Kentucky-born singer and songwriter who died tragically in 1989 into country music’s most elite class. The group has set up an online petition and is asking Keith Whitley fans to add their voices and signatures in support of the effort.
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM