Ricky Skaggs, Molly Tuttle perform as Keith Whitley goes into Country Music Hall of Fame

Ricky Skaggs and Molly Tuttle perform Tennessee Blues for the induction of Keith Whitley into the Country Music
Hall of Fame (10/16/22) – photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Last night in Nashville, Keith Whitley was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in a ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. The medallion presentation was given by Garth Brooks, and Ricky Skaggs represented Keith’s bluegrass days singing Tennessee Blues with Molly Tuttle and Justin Moses. Whitley’s widow, Lorrie Morgan, accepted on his behalf.

Though more people know Keith from his time as a country music hitmaker, bluegrass fans will also remember him as one of our own, who joined Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys while still in high school, along with his good friend Ricky Skaggs. The two teens were “discovered” by Ralph Stanley when they were prompted to get on stage when Ralph was late for a show in Kentucky, and when he entered the venue, he saw two 16 year olds singing classic from the Stanley Brothers catalog with the same precision and passion as the originals. Ralph hired them on the spot.

After several years with Stanley, Whitley joined top with J.D. Crowe & The New South, and recorded a single brilliant album, My Home Ain’t In The Hall of Fame, which a young Keith surely believed would never happen as a carefree young bluegrass artist. But that day has come, and Keith Whitley is finally a member where he belongs. Perhaps the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame will eventually get around to honoring him with an induction as well.

In his remarks, Brooks recalled that when Keith Whitley first hit on the country scene, many radio programmers complained that his sound was “too country.” Garth said that was like saying “something was too good.”

The Hall of Fame has made this video of the presentation available.

They also offered this brief clip of Tennessee Blues.

Other performers during Whitley’s induction included Mickey Guyton singing When You Say Nothing at All, and Brooks singing Don’t Close Your Eyes.

Also inducted last night were former RCA Executive Joe Galante, who had help shepherd the careers of artists like Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, the Judds, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, and Keith Whitley, rockabilly singer and songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.