Keith Whitley’s solo recording career was tragically short. He passed away at the age of 34 in 1989. At that time, he had only released two full-length albums. His third dropped in 1989, months after his passing. Today, all three records are bona fide country classics. Tracks like “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” and “When You Say Nothing at All” are etched into the hearts and minds of country fans around the globe.
However, Keith Whitley’s career didn’t begin with his solo records. Before he stunned country fans with his emotionally charged vocals, he was part of one of the best bluegrass bands the world has ever known. In the 70s, Whitley joined Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys alongside Ricky Skaggs.
Today, Whitley’s influence on country music is undeniable. In fact, some of the genre’s biggest stars cite him as a major inspiration. For instance, Garth Brooks has long said Keith Whitley was one of the artists who inspired him. There’s no telling how much Keith would have changed if he were still around today. In short, the fact that he isn’t already in the Country Music Hall of Fame is downright mind-boggling. Country fans have been saying this for years.
Keith Whitley was a Kentucky native. Recently, Senator Rand Paul made a post supporting his fellow Kentuckian’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Usually, I don’t put much stock in what politicians have to say. However, in this instance, I can say that I firmly back Rand Paul.
Rand Paul Praises Keith Whitley
Rand Paul took to Facebook to make his case. In the post, Paul said that he has always been a fan of country music. He’s especially fond of country music performed by his fellow Kentuckians. Now, he and some other folks from the Bluegrass State are speaking out in support of getting the late singer his well-deserved place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Rand Paul took a moment to discuss Whitley’s history and impact on the genre. He wrote, “Keith Whitley began his journey on the stage at the age of four, and by the age of eight he was performing on the radio. His official debut came during his early teen years when he was recording with major artists of the time and touring.” Paul went on to say that artists sought out Whitley for his vocal and musical prowess.
Additionally, Rand Paul noted Keith Whitley’s impact on country music. He said that Whitley “…was not just a singer that left country music too soon. He is a true artist whose music is still loved and being shared today.”
Senator Paul concluded by saying, “Keith Whitley should be put in his rightful, well-earned, and deserved place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Amen. Hopefully, one day soon we’ll see Whitley’s name where it belongs: alongside other legends in the Hall of Fame.