Keith Whitley fans in Nashville and northeastern Kentucky are in for a special treat when Don Rigsby and Josh Williams take their J.D. Crowe Tribute Band out for a spin this weekend.
The band was assembled for a performance at the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer festival this past summer, focusing on the music performed by The New South during the years when Whitley was a member of the band.
This era was a period where Crowe was letting the band move in a country direction, at least on recordings. Drums, piano and steel guitar were added to the bluegrass ensemble to take advantage of Keith’s remarkable voice, several years before his career in country music began.
So Don and Josh put together a band with that instrumentation for the festival which was so well-received that a clamor for additional appearances was heard. Shows are scheduled at Nashville’s Station Inn on Friday (12/19), and at Simply The Best restaurant in Grayson, KY on Saturday (12/20).
Josh will be on guitar and lead vocals, and if you’ve never heard him sing Whitley’s material, you’ve missed something special. Don will play mandolin and sing tenor, with Aaron McDaris on banjo, Larry Atamanuik on drums, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, and Robbie Turner on steel. Bradley Walker will also be on hand to provide vocals, who is another uncommonly strong singer in the Keith Whitley style.
They will perform songs from the classic bluegrass album, My Home Ain’t In The Hall Of Fame, released in 1978, and the almost wholly country album, Somewhere Between from 1982. The latter is thought to have been the precursor to Keith’s country career. Just a year after its release he made the move to Nashville and within a few more years had his first hit with Miami, My Amy in 1986. The country and bluegrass worlds both sincerely mourned his untimely death in 1989 from alcohol poisoning.
These promise to be fabulous shows, ones I’m sorry I won’t get to see.