Keith Whitley's country singer son is making sure his dad's music lives on, years after his death.
Born in 1987, Jesse Keith Whitley is the son of Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley. The Kentucky-born singer-songwriter has naturally inherited the singing talents of his parents. He regularly plays live shows, sometimes alongside his mother, and often includes some of his father's biggest hits in his set list.
It's easy to see and hear the resemblances to his father. Although he has a voice all his own, the power and emotion in his version of the late Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" perfectly echoes the original.
During a 2016 visit to the Grand Ole Opry stage, stormy conditions caused the power to go in and out. Whitley saw it as a special message from above from his late father and grandfather. (Jesse Keith's grandfather is Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan, father of Lorrie Morgan.)
"It was Dad and my Grandpa George showing up, letting us know we were in the right place," he told fans.
In 2016, Jesse Keith Whitley released his single "Try to Change My Ways," penned by Kirk Roth and Robert Kemp. He released his debut album, Kentucky Thunder, in 2011.
Penned by Bob McDill, "Don't Close Your Eyes" was recorded by Whitley for his 1988 album of the same name. The song hit No. 1 on the country charts the same year. The song has since been covered by Alan Jackson, Kellie Pickler and Whitley super-fan Garth Brooks.
Many country music lovers are still mourning the tragic loss of Keith Whitley, who passed away at the age of 33 from alcohol poisoning. Still, it's encouraging to see his music, from his teenage contributions to bluegrass to such hits as "I'm No Stranger to the Rain," still being played and appreciated by the next generation.
If you want to learn more about Jesse Keith Whitley's solo music, visit his official Facebook page.
This article was originally published on July 28, 2016. It was updated on Dec. 18, 2020.