Sandy Hook is only 25 miles from Cordell, where Ricky Skaggs grew up. Those two got together to pick and sing together as teenagers, and were discovered by Ralph Stanley in 1970. The good doctor brought them both into his band where they recorded some of the most soulful bluegrass ever cut with The Clinch Mountain Boys.
The town has a sign on the road welcoming visitors, and reminding folks of their famous native son, but in recent years it has become a bit tattered and worn. So a group of folks got together to have a new sign made, and it will be officially unveiled and installed tomorrow during Sandy Hook’s Remembering Keith Whitley Day.
Involved in the effort were Keith’s brother, Dwight, and his wife, Flo, and mandolinist Scott Napier, who launched the campaign after noticing the old sign barely standing as he drove into Sandy Hook one day. Scott stopped his car and propped the sign back up, but told us that it continued to bother him seeing such a shabby memorial to Keith standing at all.
So Scott found a local sign painter where he lives in Hazard, Michael Young, who was also a big Whitley fan. He agreed to create a new one for a fraction of what he would normally charge. One local businessman paid part of the cost, and Napier took care of the rest himself.
Now there are plans to erect a larger sign at Whitley’s actual home site, and another welcome sign for the other end of town. Dwight and Flo Whitley are managing these efforts under the auspices of the Keith Whitley Foundation. They can be contacted on Facebook should you wish to contribute to this effort.
Well done, all!