The Fans Remember KEITH WHITLEY.
May 9th 1999, marked 10 years that KEITH has been gone. The following stories and comments below are from the KEITH WHITLEY fans from all over the world. Please note that we (who own Keith Whitley Blvd) do not endorse any thing in these articles. These are unedited submissions by unedited fans, We may or may not share the views that are expressed in the following entries.
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I'm only 16, so I missed hearing Keith on the radio a lot. When I heard Allison Krauss do "When You Say Nothing At All" I fell in love with the song. > When I heard Keith's version I loved it even more. My favorite song of Keith's has to be "There's a New Kid in Town" because I feel the emotion in that song that I have never heard any other artist do in any other song.
MARTY RAYBON formerly of the group SHENANDOAH, Remembers Keith.
HI, T-ROY.... I've
always been a fan of Keith Whitley's from the first time I saw
him with Ralph Stanley in Middleburg Fl,After the death of Roy
Lee Centers. Keith picked up like he hadn't missed a lick, with
Ralph I was really proud of him ,I mean I felt really good for
him The J.D Crowe days were really good as well. It seem like to
me he sang better at that point than any other time, Man what a
singer!!! well that's my two cents
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Visit my website
Listen to my music http://www.MartyRaybon.com/music.htm
PAM GADD formerly of the group WILD ROSE, Remembers Keith.
Dear Troy, Just a quick note to say hello and to respond to your request that I share something about how Keith influenced my life. I really appreciate you asking. It is quite a joy to be able to share with you and everyone that never has any singer influenced me more. (Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette run a close second and third.) It was something in the "feel" of how he delivered a song. He sang with so much feeling that I literally felt every turn and move inside of me when I listened. I related completely to the emotion and felt exactly what he was conveying. That has never happened since with a singer. And that voice full of such feel is what influenced me most as a singer. I've always known that and still cringe at the thought of his death. I will always carry him in my heart, and I believe that with each emotion I try to always sing with, he is there somewhere... listening perhaps, and though he may not know, still being carried on. I wish you all the best Troy, and I apologize it's taken me this long to get back with you. Things have just been swamped at this end. Take care of yourself and thanks again for asking. All the best, Pam
Keith Whitley, Is the Man, and always will be one of the best in GOOD COUNTRY MUSIC. -Jim & Faye Dunlap
I remember the
very first time I heard the voice of KEITH WHITLEY. Back in the
early 80's, a radio station in my area used to play ANYTHING that
was requested, album cuts,etc. Unfortunately, radio isnt like
that anymore. But this station (WHOK in Lancaster,Ohio) would
always play a JD CROWE song as the last song before midnight.
Every night it would be one of these 3 songs. "ANOTHER TOWN",
"SOMEWHERE BETWEEN", or "I WOULD HAVE LOVED YOU
ALL NIGHT LONG". I loved listening to these songs, but didnt
know who KEITH WHITLEY was. A few years later I heard "MIAMI,
MY AMY" and that was all it took. I WAS AN INSTANT KEITH
WHITLEY FAN! I remember in 1988, Columbus Ohio, Hank Williams Jr
was to be in concert. I had already seen him 3 times before that,
and to be honest with you, I got sick of hearing him spend most
of the show bragging about his daddy (who he spent years trying
to get out of Hanks shadow), and hearing him re-write the songs
he performed in concert. But when I heard that KEITH was the
opening act, I went and got tickets. The very last row, in the
balcony at The Ohio Center. BUT! When KEITH came on and did his
show, I felt like I was in the front row. He just had that way
about him. I regret that was the only performance I seen of KEITH.
I remember May 9th 1989, my mom coming in that evening and saying
that she heard that KEITH has passed away. "AW, BULL-SH#T!"
were the first words out of my mouth. I went to turn on the radio
and as soon as I did, I heard a piece of an interview with KEITH
and he was saying how he stopped drinking because he knew that if
he didnt, it was going to kill him. He assured everyone that he
was sober completely! Right after the interview, "Homecomin
"63" came on. Still wondering what the hell was going
on, I listened. After the song, the dj said "that was the
late KEITH WHITLEY". WHAT? HOW? WHY? I was in shock! I didnt,
or should say, couldnt shed a tear until a few days later when I
watched This week In Country Music w/Crook"n'Chase. The
first story was on KEITH, and ended with T.Graham Brown talking
about KEITH. Still in shock, I re-wound the tape and watched that
again. The tears started coming down. I just couldnt understand,
and still really dont understand. There is more to the story than
what was released, but I wont go there. I feel KEITH is my
Guardian Angel. I have had so many experiences, a few with Flo
and Mike Whitley present, where he gave us a sign that he was
watching over us. It's hard to believe that 10 years has gone by
already. It seemed like yesterday when I was watching him on
Ralph Emerys show or The Grand Ole Opry. I am really looking
forward to the ride this year. It has been a few years since I
last visited KEITH. Although its hard for me, its also therapy.
KEITH will ALWAYS be in my heart, he had such an impact in my
life. The best friends that I have EVER made, I made through
KEITH WHITLEY. KEITH, I will FOREVER be grateful to you for
everything you have done for me, past and present. And yes, 10
years later....We Still Think Of You! I Still Miss and Love Ya.--Troy
Elder, Keith Whitley Fan Club Representative.
never had the opportunity to meet the late great Keith Whitley.
In my opinion, there is no one that can touch him. He was
and always will be the greatest thing to ever come along to
country music. When he sang, it was as if angels were
singing. His voice was that pure. I wish he could
still be with us. I will always remember Keith Whitley.
I first heard of Keith Whitley when I discovered Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1977. I heard this great Bluegrass voice on many of Raalphs recordings and identified it as Keith Whitley. By the time I first saw Keith live he had moved on to J. D. Crowe and the New South. Wow, I sat in the front row at the Shoal Creek Park in Lavonia Ga and felt something in that voice. It captured everything that bluegrass music was supposed to be. The emotion in his vocals made me swell with emotion. It was strange to be so moved by a singer. Needless to say I began collecting everything I could find featuring Keith.
Later I learned that Keith was in Nashville making an attempt to break into the country music field. I knew that someone in Nashville had to recognize the potential of this great performer. Sure enough I soon found , by accident, a copy of the RCA release A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW. This is still my favorite recording of all Keith's country albums. Of course over the next few years Keith became very popular and everyone learned what I already knew, that Keith Whitley was the GREATEST SINGER IN THE HISTORY OF COUNTRY MUSIC. During these years I tried to see Keith and Miami every time they came to Atlanta. I had met him once or twice during the Crowe years and got to talk with him briefly during his trips to Atlanta. Life was good.
On the day of Keith's death I learned the news thru a phone call from a friend and it impacted me in a way I can't describe. Suddenly there was this great void where he had been. I hadn't realized myself how important this man's music was to me. By coincidence my friend had a co-worker who was going to Nashville for a relatives funeral that week and it turned out to be at the same funeral home as Keith's. This person who I have never met brought me back newspaper articles and a memorial card for Keith from the Funeral Home. Those things are among my treasured memorabilia.
A couple of years later, again by coincidence, I saw a blurb in a country music magazine about the Keith Whitley memorial Homecoming in Sandy Hook Ky, his hometown. I called the phone number and spoke with the Most Dedicated Keith Whitley fan of all, Troy Elder. After talking with Troy I made my plans to attend. Since that year I have visited Sandy Hook every Labor Day weekend. Meeting and getting to know Ms. Faye, Dwight and Flo, Mary and Ferrell and all of Keith's other family and friends has been a real thrill for me. I always feel like part of the family when I'm in Sandy Hook.
Keith Whitley has
provided me with untold hours of fine music. His family and
friends have provided me with great friendships and great
memories. I can only say thanks to the GREATEST SINGER ever and
his WONDERFUL FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
The first time I
saw Keith was in Berea, Ky., he was playing at the college with J.D.
Crowe, this was in 1980. I thought what a wonderful voice
this person has.
Shortly after that, my husband, Randy Hayes was asked to join J.D. 's band and we drove to Ohio for a show so Randy could familiarize himself with J. D.'s show. That was the first time I talked with Keith. I could tell right away he was a big cut up and really liked people. We listened to J.D.'s tape, "My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame" on the way home and I fell in love with Keith's voice that night.
From that day on Keith became a very speical friend of mine. Randy and I visited him at his home and he came to ours. We became very close friends over the next few years as Randy continued to play with Keith. Keith had a special place in my heart. He became like a brother. He would call when he was happy or sad. When I started college he encouraged me and told me how important an education would be if I ever needed to support myself.
Keith and I sat and talked on many occasions before a show while the band was getting things ready for a sound check. He would talk to me about his loves and losses, which I would never repeat. We had many special talks as friends, which I cherish in my memories of him.
Keith was also a special friend to my son, Shaun. He knew Shaun liked Michael Jordan, the basketball player, and Keith would call him Larry Byrd, who was on a rival team and Shaun didn' t like, just as a joke to get Shaun to argue with him. Shaun still has a pair of silly glasses that Keith gave him on the bus one day.
Keith always treated Randy, Shaun and myself like family, he invited us to stay all night with him in Nashville. The next morning he took out his guitar and played "On the Other Hand" he wanted Randy's opinion of the song. This was before anyone had recorded it. I will never forget sitting there and listening to him play and sing that song, how I wish I had a recorder on, the song never sounded better. We have 2 songs that Keith recorded in his apartment just for Randy on a cassette player which hold a special place in our hearts, Keith starts out by saying "for Cos" and he sang "High Steel and Memories" and "Revelations".
The last time I saw Keith was in March 1989 and I thought how stressed out and tired he looked. But he still gave me that million dollar smile that he had and a hug like always and told me how glad he was to see me. I watched his performance that night, not knowing it would be the last one I would ever see. Like always, that beautiful voice and that smile shown through to the audience.
I will never forget the last words he said to me that night, he hugged me and said "I love you and take care of my little buddy", meaning Randy "Cosmos" as Keith called him. Randy had taken a few months off the road and Keith had talked him in to coming back in June 1989. He said he wanted Randy to ride on his new bus with him. And as you all know, Keith died in May 1989.
I loved Keith as a special friend and will never forget him because he did have a great impact on my life. I miss him as much today as ever. Keith will always and forever remain in my heart and I will grieve the loss of him every day of my life. I don't grieve the loss of Keith for country music, which it was a big loss, I grieve the loss of the man, my friend. I miss his hugs, his smile and the special way he always treated me. I feel lucky to have known Keith, he brought a lot into my life that I would never have got to experience if it wasn't for him. By not knowing Keith I could have missed the pain but I would have missed the dance....................The dance was much more important...........................
I have pictures of Keith in almost every room of my home. I have so many snapshots of Keith , they fill up an entire picture album. I have many keepsakes that love nor money could buy. I have one room completely decorated with Keith's pictures, it is like a shrine to Keith.
So as Keith's fans remember him on the 10th year anniversary of his death, remember what a special human being he was along with the best voice to ever grace country music.
My earliest memories of Keith date back to the spring of 1988 when I got my very first job working as a disk jockey at the country station in my hometown of McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. I was a high school junior then.
I had never met Keith, nor have I ever seen him perform live. But I feel like I helped to further his career in some small way by promoting his music on the radio and relating any new developments in his career to my listeners. I recall the feeling similar to being touched by the Spirit every time I was affected by Keith's raw emotion in a vocal performance. I've always enjoyed singing along to my favorite music in the car to while away the time, but when Keith was singing I would shut up and let him sing to me.
I remember hearing about his passing for the first time. I wasn't on the air that 9th of May, but the next day when I reported to work my co-worker and classmate Lisa told me just before I was to sign on. She said, "Oh, by the way, Keith Whitley died yesterday, and Steve wants us to play him once an hour until further notice." I thought it was a cruel joke, but when I realized she wasn't joking I was so overcome by emotion that I couldn't speak that entire shift. It was all I could do to read the weather forecast on the air. My initial reaction was shock, then I felt nothing but anger. I was angry about this senseless loss of life, and how Keith had finally acheived the success he had worked so hard for for over half of his short time here on Earth. I was partly mad at Lisa for not telling me sooner. I felt betrayed because I didn't hear about it until the day after it happened. At the end of the day when I finally got home, I was so exhausted from crying so much that Mom had to let me in the door. She asked, "What happened?" I cried, "Keith's dead." She hugged me and held me until I finally drifted off to sleep. Later I found out that she had heard about the news on CMT earlier that evening.
The next day, I made a vow to honor Keith's memory by closing every show with one of his songs. It became my trademark.
In the spring of 1991, Steve, my program director, presented me with a project--to compile material for a special live radio tribute to Keith to be aired on the 2nd anniversary of his death. The project took all of six weeks to complete, but the tribute ended up being four hours long! I am forever grateful to Troy, as well as Flo Whitley and Mrs. Faye Whitley for their contributions to this project. Up until the birth of my daughter Michaela in December 1997, it was the one thing I had a hand in producing that I was the most proud of.
Now, 10 years after Keith's passing, his music still touches me. Never was there such an emotional vocalist like him, in my opinion. Whether it was his live performance of "High Steel & Memories" at Gilley's night club in 1987, or his live performance of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" on his last appearance on "Nashville Now!" in March 1989, the emotion with which he told his stories in song just cannot be duplicated by any other artist.
Lastly, thank you, Troy, for everything you do to help keep Keith's memory alive in all of us.
First of all, let me start by saying that I am no writer. After reading wonderful stories from Troy Elder, Mike Fleming, & Kay Hayes regarding Keith, & knowing some great words are gonna be written by others, I realize that I have no stories that will match any of that. All I know is what I feel, & that is what I chose to write about.
There are only a few people in my life that have influenced my musical tastes. Only 1 is not a member of my family, & that's Keith. I grew up listening to my Dad & Mom's records of the 50's & 60's & came away with an admiration of Buddy Holly & Sam Cooke in particular. But now I see as I look back that my real love was & is, REAL, HARD-CORE country (not this new crap - but that's another story). My Grandma had all of it - Jones, Paycheck, Buck, Pride,Hank, Waylon, Lefty, & Haggard. I loved "Saginaw, Mich." anything Haggard did.
It was years later that I discovered Keith Whitley (Sadly to say, I never heard of him up here in Mich. while his bluegrass days were going on & during his early years with RCA). My first reaction to his singing was "WHAT A VOICE !!" I began accumulating everything I could find that he recorded. The more I listened to his songs, the more I was astounded by what I was hearing. I was never a bluegrass fan until I heard J.D.Crowe, Country Store, & Ralph Stanley. That was PASSION I heard in those songs.
Keith was the quintissential singer - regardless of time period. I realize now that he was all my earlier favorites all wrapped up in one. "Revelation" is still the most incredible thing I've ever heard. The first time I heard "I Never Go Around Mirrors," I thought that is the best performance of a song ever. Then I discovered that it was Lefty's song. Everything came full circle for me.
In other ways, Keith has had even a more direct impact on me. The friends I've met just because we all have a love for Keith's music is amazing to me. You all know who you are, & I get a chill everytime I think about the fact that, if it wasn't for an incredibly gifted performer, I wouldn't know these people. They are friends for life, & though we are all miles apart, Keith's music keeps us all close, close friends. How many artists can claim that ?
They say Feb. 3rd of '59 was the day the music died (for us Holly fans, it sure is), but from what I hear now days on radio, May 9th, '89 was the day the that country music died. Oh sure, there are artists out there doing well, writing & singing good songs, giving great performances, but no one has even come close to giving us what Keith had. This isn't a stab at today artists, but like I said in the beginning, it's what I feel, & I'm gonna write what I feel.
Thanks to all of those that help keep Keith's memory alive. You are special people!
Jon Paslean - Michigan
I WILL NEVER FORGET THE DAY KEITH DIED, IT WAS LIKE THE WORLD WAS A SADDER PLACE NOW THAT THIS GREAT VOICE WAS GONE, I WAS SO HOOKED ON HIS MUSIC THAT IT WAS PLAYED DAILY AS I DID MY HOUSE WORK ( MY 2 TAPES )AND DURING THE 2PM HOUR OUR RADIO STATION PLAYED REQUEST AND AS A DAILY RITUAL I CALLED IN AND REQUESTED A KEITH SONG AND THEY PLAYED IT FOR ALL THE TOWN TO HEAR WHEN CALLED THAT DAY ( I HAD CALLED SO MUCH THEY KNEW ME)THEY ASKED ME IF I HAD MY RADIO ON AND I SAID I WAS TURNING IT ON NOW AND WHEN I DID, THE NEWS WAS SO SHOCKING THAT I JUST CRIED AND CRIED AND THE DJ TOLD ME TO LISTEN IN AT 10 PM AND THEY PLAYED A TRIBUTE TO ME AS A DEVOTED FAN AND TO KEITH , THEY PLAYED THE WHOLE ENTIRE ALBUM OF DONT CLOSE YOUR EYES...............I WENT TO THE LIBRARY FOR 2 WEEKS COLLECTING ALL THE NEWSPAPERS DATED MAY 10TH AND CUT OUT ALL THE ARTICLES THAT I STILL KEEP...........AND AS USUAL KEITHS MUSIC IS PLAYED TO THIS DAY AS I DO MY HOUSEWORK..........HE WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE """""THE MAN BEHIND GREAT MUSIC""""""""
I regret never having the pleasure of meeting Keith Whitley in person, yet I feel a connection to him that many would find hard to understand. It's difficult to explain, but those of you who are reading this right now, I'm sure, know what I mean. Once you've listened to Keith sing, and heard that VOICE, there is no turning back.
Keith was scheduled to perform at "Country Concert in the Hills" in Ft. Loramie Ohio in July of 1989. Once I heard that Keith was going to be there, I bought my ticket as soon as they went on sale. I couldn't believe that I was finally going to get the chance to see Keith. July couldn't get here fast enough for me. Then came that morning in May that changed everything.
On my way to work like every other morning I turned on my radio as I headed north. I don't remember wat was playing when it first came on but the next song was "I'm No Stranger To The Rain". I listened to every word, and probably sang a few of them too. The song was followed by the words, "That was the late Keith Whitley"! WHAT? I knew there had to have been some kind of mistake. There was just no way this could have been true. Once I got to work I went back to my area and sat down and opened up the morning paper. There it was. I could barely read the words through the tears. "OH, MY GOD" it was really true. How? How could this have happened to Keith. I still didn't want to believe it. There had to have been some sort of an explanation.
I'll never forget how I felt that morning. "Country Concert" time rolled around and I seriously considered not going. What was the point? Without Keith there, it wasn't going to be the same. The concert at that time was a three day event starting on Friday evening. I decided to go ahead and go, so I left right after work on Friday. The night started with an introduction of the couple who started the event years prior.
After singing the National Anthem, they asked that there be a moment of silence to remember someone we had recently lost. Someone who was to have been a part of that weekend. That special someone was Keith. I couldn't believe how quit it got. And then we all heard that voice that I had grown to love. I stood there with tears running down my face as I listened to Keith sing "I Wonder Do You Think Of Me". I noticed that I wasn't the only one who was missing him. I could see that there were others beside me who must have loved Keith as I had.
Thanks to Troy Elder, I learned about the Memorial Homecoming Exhibit held in Sandy Hook KY at the home of Keith's mother Faye. My first year of attending was in 1990, and I have been there every year since. I remember sitting beside Faye on her front porch that first year, holding her hand, as she shared memories of Keith with me. I could feel the great loss she had suffered, as we shared many tears that day also.
Each trip to Sandy Hook has given me memories that I will treasure forever. I have had the pleasure of meeting the rest of the Whitley family and they all hold a very special place in my heart. The time I have been able to spend with them and the stories they have shared are pricless to me.
Over the years at the Exhibit and being able to work Keith's booth at Fan Fair, I have met many people who share that same love for Keith and his music. Merle Haggard is among them. I have made some very dear friends because of Keith. "I love you guys very much"! Even though Keith didn't personally introduce us, he is the one responsible for us being a part of each others lives now. And for that I will always be grateful. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Keith, the Whitley's, or one of these special friends.
I believe that
one day I will be able to thank Keith personally for all the
wonderful ways he has touched my life. It is then, that I look
forward to that concert I missed 10 years ago.
I wrote about ten letters to Keith between 1980 - April 1989 but never send him one of them. Wherever you are tonight, Keith : I hope you can read this letter that comes straight from my heart where you always have a special place and will live forever!
May, the 9th 1999
For ten years I've been asking myself: Can this be real? Still after all this time it seems unreal and unbelievable to me because you are such a big part of my everyday life. I hear your beautiful voice and I'm still impressed by it like I was when I heard it for the very first time! Every now and then there are people who touches you deep inside and are special to you from the first second on (you are such a special person for me and I knew it from the start)! Hearing you sing can pour every emotion I'm able to feel out of me. I see your pretty smiling face from all the pictures hanging on my walls. Some remind me of the day I saw you! I was on top of the world that day in March'89. Felt like the luckiest girl in the whole world but unfortunately I didn't tell you face to face how I felt inside. Thought it would sound stupid. If I could turn back time that's a mistake I would never make again. >From 1980 - April'89 I wrote you about ten letters I did never send. God knows I still feel bad and guilty about that (especially about not sending you the letter I wrote in April'89 after having seen you in concert). Why didn't I send it? Because I could never have written you just a "normal" fan-letter telling you I like your music etc... No, that would've sounded too trivial for the fact I was touched so deeply by you and your music. And writing you the truth about how I felt about you I was afraid it would sound too stupid coming from somebody you don't know. I could/would've lived with that but what really kept me from sending the last one was I didn't want you to get in any kind of trouble for something I had written (jealous women can act strange). So I didn't send that one, either! I wish I would've send it! Sometimes little things can make big diffrences and who knows maybe the letter would've reached you at a time when you needed something to lift you up! I will never forgive myself for that! Even if it wouldn't have changed anything it would have eased my mind to have tried to tell you how I feel about you! If you can look down and see us and can read minds you know by now! For the last ten years I try to make up for my mistake and take every chance I get to tell everyone how I feel about you hoping you get the message somehow! They say you left this world. Maybe, but you are not gone and never will be! You are everywhere! Everywhere I go you are right with me (living in my heart and soul) and in the hearts of million others too because legends like you never die - you live on in the hearts and souls of your family, friends and fans. You live on in the songs you have written and sung. The more I hear about you the more I think we were alike in many ways. Heard about your love for animals and always try to help those in need (sounds like me). When I heard you named your dog "Lefty" I thought we are really soul-mates. Since I was a little child I wanted to name a pet (if I would ever get one) "Lefty" because I thought that would be the perfect name. Thought it sounds nice and sweet and of course reminds me of "Lefty Frizzell". We've got 6 cats at home and when it was my turn to name the second oldest I of course named him "Lefty" like I decided years before. By the way our "Lefty" was born somewhere in May 1989 and if there's one pet who deserves this name - it's him. He's too good for this world! I met Dwight, Flo, Faye and Mary and you can be so proud having a family like that! They all love you so dearly and they welcome all your fans and make us feel like a part of your family! Being around them I always feel real close to you! I know you are with them always and forever! As I close this letter I want you to know: If there's life after death we will meet again someday and then I'm more than ready to tell you face to face what you means to me and how I feel! 'Til then take my written words, X's and O's,
The one event
that changed the face of country music forever was the passing of
Keith Whitley. Right after Keith died, Garth Brooks stepped to
the forefront. Garth has totally ruined country music forever.
Because of him country is not country anymore. Had Keith lived,
he would have been the biggest country star of all time, and we
would now be calling him artist of the decade.
Michael Cosner of
I like so many
other people will never forget Keith's music. He had absolutly
the best voice ever along with George Jones that Country Music
has ever known...I never met Keith but I did get the opportunity
to see him in concert in early 1989 at the old club called
Rhinestones here in Lexington, Ky where I live.His show was
incredible, it was the first and unhappily the last time I ever
saw him....I never will forget that show I remember it like it
was today...My cousin Lou Toomey played with Keith in those days,
and the band kicked of "Miami My Ami" and they played
it for what seemed like forever before Keith came out, just the
music...Then Keith came out and they kicked into "Honky Tonk
Heart" I was spellbound...Later on I asked Lou about that
and he said they always kicked the shows off at that time with
Miami but for some starnge reason Keith wanted them to start the
show off with Honky Tonk Heart, that was allright with me I
always loved that song along with everything else he ever did......I
just thank God that I did get to experience one Keith Whitley
show it was something I'll never forget.. I wish RCA would
release the rest of Keiths unrealsed songs WE THE FANS DESERVE
this and the rest of the world that has yet to discover Keith....I
just want to say also that I cant beleive its been 10 long years
since Keith's been gone the time has flown and nobody has yet
come along that could even compair to Keith......Go Rest High On
That Mountain Keith.
My name is John
Shukle, age 25, from Spokane Washington. When I was a boy, about
10-12, I would help my dad with the farm. We had, (and still have),
an old Ford truck we used for moving cows, hay, etc. Sometimes
dad and I would go hunting together in the old ford. I remember
the A.M. radio that it had was always on 1510 KGA, (a country
station at the time). As we drove around from here to there, we
would listen to the songs, and sometimes sing along.
remember hearing Keith sing for the first time. The song was
"Miami, My Amy", and my dad my older sister and I were
riding together down the old dirt road by the ranch. I looked
over at my sister and said "hey Amy, this guy is singin
about you". we laughed and listened to the song together. I'll
never forget "Don't Close Your Eyes", that song stirred
up emotions in me even as a young boy. I remember thinking how he
sang with so much genuine emotion, and as I listened to him, I
would get caught up in it as well. No other artist has been able
to really get inside me like Keith did, and still does! I feel as
though I can relate to every situation, every word, and every
feeling he expresses in his music.
I remember just
as vividly as before hearing of Keiths death. Dad and I were in
the old Ford, heading into town. "I'm No Stranger To The
Rain" played on the radio. After the song ended, the DJ said
"that was the late great Keith Whitley". I looked over
to my dad and in shock I asked "What!!!! Keith Whitley Died!!!???
When?" Dad told me what he knew, and I remember how crushed
I felt the rest of the day.
When I was old
enough to buy my own music, I remember seeing Keiths album "Dont
Close Your Eyes" at the record store. I snatched it up, and
hurried to the front of the store to buy it. I sat in my little
Ford Courier and listend to it on the way home, and as I listened,
I cried. I cried because I really felt Keiths loss for the first
time. Eversince that day, I have bought all of his albums, and
listen to them over and over. I Miss keith so much, and regret
that I never really knew him and his music until after his death.
He lives on in my heart and my radio though, and everyone that
knows me knows how I feel about Keith, The Man and the Legend!
He'll live on forever!
I still remember that day that I heard the news that Keith had passed like it was yesterday...I don't remember alot of things that have happened in the last 30 years, but I remember I was going to school in Waco, Tx, and was working part time for a cleaning service in Waco, and was cleaning the lunch room at Spenco Medical Co. in Waco. The office complex had a stereo system installed in the lunchroom that really jammed, and I would usually turn it up so it echoed through the building so the other guys on my crew could hear it. I was cleaning the lunchroom, going about my usual duties of sweeping, mopping, stacking chairs, etc...well I heard it come across the stereo that Keith had died..I had been following his career and enjoyed his music immensely. I was mopping and heard the news, and just started crying, standing there bawling my eyes out, and I knew that I had to get my work done, but I just couldn't stop crying...so I just worked and cried and thought about Keith... I had time to be by myself and grieve what was my and everyone elses loss, I had time to think about his children and Lorrie and what they must have been feeling at the time....
I still think of him to this day....
I will never
forget the first time that I heard Keith Whitley sing. I was
watching CMT one night when his video for "When You Say
Nothing At All" came on. This was probably the first time
that I had ever heard him sing. The emotion that came out of his
voice was so strong, I cried for almost an hour after hearing it.
Ever since then, I have been hooked on his music. He has the
greatest voice I have ever heard from a male country singer, or
any genre for that matter, and his music has a way of touching
your heart in a way that no others can. Anytime that I listen to
his music, it is as if it takes me to another world. I only wish
that he were still around to share the gift that God had bestowed
on him. Keith Whitley's music has touched my life in a special
way that nothing can compare to. I will always try my best to
spread his music and influence wherever I go, and encourage all
of the other fans to do so. Keith may be gone, but his music and
memory will always live on!
Hi Troy, This is a great idea. So many people love Keith and his music. I was always a big fan of Keith. I never got to meet him but I consider myself fortunate to call his brother Dwight my friend. I have always sang Keith's songs and from time to time someone will even come up after a show and pay me a great compliment by comparing me to him. All of this has hit even closer to home over the past couple of years since Hank Cochran is producing my music. He was a close friend and supporter of Keith. They wrote songs together and Hank helped to mold Keith into the star that he was. I think of that when Hank and I are working and his music hits home even more to me. Dwight invited me up to sing with him at the Annual Keith Whitley Memorial. It was my first time up there and it sure was a thrill. I was in Keith Whitley's home town and was about to sing in front of the people that had known Keith the best. I have to admit I was a little nervous. Well, I made it through it and had an even bigger thrill after that. Someone came to the side of the stage and told me that Keith's mother, Faye Whitley, wanted to meet me. I went over there and fumbled something about what a big fan of Keith's I had been and hugged her neck. What a night it was! I got to stay up there for a few days after that. Dwight showed me all around. I went to the exhibit and saw all of the things that had belonged to Keith. We listened to Keith's music and looked at pictures. I hated for it to end but I had to get back to Nashville. There was one thing that I thought about afterwards. Dwight and I had a late night jam session at his house one night. Mostly I sang the lead and Dwight sang the high tenor harmony cause I'm not much of a harmony singer. I know that he and Keith used to do that too as they were growing up. Every time I think of it I know that Keith is still with us. I'm honored to know his music and his family. Country music wouldn't be the same had there not been a Keith Whitley.
This a.m. - I was
looking at my concert tickets for May 20th, 1989. Keith was
playing the Preble County Fair and we were so excited.
However, just a few weeks prior to that we lost Keith.
Keith's band consisted of members from my home and we all felt to
be part of his music success. We ensured the music was
played and to this day ...the music is still played often in this
town. There is one band that you can go see..that will play
any Keith Whitley song you request. The members are from
bluegrass backgrounds so you can imagine how genuine they sound.
I was a radio personality and did a heartfelt radio show on the 1yr
anniversary of his death. Mrs Faye called me and invited me
to Sandy Hook. That was one of the most memorable moments
of my life. The saddest part, was thinking any minute
Keith would walk in the door. I had that very real feeling.
Keith is very much part of our lives in my circle. We all
lend special credence to the era that he touched. We refer
back to it often and keep it alive. I've never felt music
as much as I felt music in that era. Sometimes when no
melody soothes my soul -I pull out the Keith cd's... close my
eyes and enjoy.