Since the release of his debut single “I Met a Girl,” William Michael Morgan has been making a name for himself as a champion of traditional country. At 23 years old, Morgan’s music is rooted firmly in classic country of the 1960’s and the neo-traditional sound of late ’80s and early ’90s country radio. Morgan cites Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Mark Chestnutt and Keith Whitley as major influences.
During a recent visit to The Bobby Bones Show, Morgan delivered a pitch-perfect rendition of a Keith Whitley classic. See William Michael Morgan cover “Don’t Close Your Eyes” below:
Keith Whitley scored a No. 1 hit with “Don’t Close Your Eyes” in 1988. The song was one of three consecutive singles to rise to the top of the country charts from Whitley’s album of the same name. Whitley’s untimely death the following year at the age of 34 shook the country music industry. The Kentucky-born singer was at the height of popularity at his passing, with posthumous singles “It Ain’t Nothin'” and “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” rising to No. 1. As Morgan proves, Whitley’s influence on his peers and younger generations of country artists is indelible.
Playing covers was a huge part of Morgan’s self-taught crash course in country music history.
“I fell in love with that sound, and of course that played a big role in me wanting to research more and go further back, which ended up leading me to YouTube, which led me to a world of country music that I had never heard before,” Morgan told NPR Music. “So I would look that up and kinda teach myself to play it and write like that and sing like that.”