Lorrie Morgan Opens Keith Whitley Exhibit at Country Music Hall of Fame [Pictures]
Lorrie Morgan and her son, Jesse Keith Whitley, were on hand to remember the late Keith Whitley at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville on Tuesday night (April 30).
Morgan took the podium to address the assembled crowd of journalists and other Music City insiders in the rotunda in the Hall of Fame at an invitation-only preview of the upcoming Still Rings True: The Enduring Voice of Keith Whitley. The singer spoke emotionally, remembering her late husband as someone who "made an impact on everybody that he ever came into contact with. I've never heard anybody say, 'Well, I didn't really like him that much.' Keith was just so lovable, and it's so sad when you have to say goodbye to someone so lovable. But he left this wonderful music."
Morgan also thanked the Hall of Fame and everyone who donated personal items, for helping Whitley "still be a prominent figure in country music. We're so proud that he is that, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
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Whitley died on May 9, 1989, of acute alcohol poisoning at the age of 33 after years of heavy drinking, but the Kentucky native left a tremendous musical legacy of hits including "Don't Close Your Eyes," "When You Say Nothing at All," I'm No Stranger to the Rain," "I Wonder Do You Think of Me," "It Ain't Nothin'" and more. His musical influence was celebrated with an all-star tribute album in 1994, and he's still an artist whose traditional leanings are admired by a wide range of up-and-coming country performers from younger generations, as well as fans.
Whitley and Morgan welcomed their only child, Jesse Keith Whitley, in 1987, and he attended the ceremony along with his girlfriend, Kristen Gann.
Among the highlights from the exhibit were stage clothing, an old reel-to-reel recorder, album covers and posters depicting Whitley's early days, posters, handwritten notes and dates books and more.
Still Rings True: The Enduring Voice of Keith Whitley is set to open to the public on May 3. Whitley will also be the subject of an upcoming all-star tribute concert that will take place at the CMA Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 9, the 30th anniversary of his death.
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Tracy Lawrence, Mark Wills, Darryl Worley, Mark Chesnutt and Joe Diffie are among the artists slated to perform selections from his catalog, along with "That's Just Jessie" singer Kevin Denney, Grammy-winning country and bluegrass star Carl Jackson, Wesley Dennis, Corey Farlow, Tom Buller, bluegrass singer Larry Cordle, Caleb Daugherty and Cory and Dustin Keefe.
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