Tim McGraw paid tribute to one of his biggest musical heroes with a cover that will move you to tears.
McGraw grew up in Louisiana, but made the move to Nashville in 1989 with the hopes of making it big. On that very same day, Keith Whitley died of alcohol poisoning in his home, just outside of the Music City.
When McGraw performed at the Kentucky State Fair in 2010, he told the crowd just how much Whitley meant to him as an artist and country music fan.
Over the years, countless artists have covered Whitley’s massive hit, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” However, McGraw’s version is one of the most emotional and meaningful renditions around. Whitley’s life, legacy and tragic death has made a huge impact on McGraw, even a quarter of a century later.
“Keith Whitley taught me how demons can overtake you if you let ’em,” McGraw told Men’s Health in a revealing interview from 2014. “And I was headed down that path. You feel like you’re supposed to be ‘on’ all the time. Then you drink and get onstage, and all of a sudden you feel confident and powerful.”
Thankfully, McGraw is on the straight and narrow and is keeping Whitley’s music alive through touching tributes like this one.