New exhibit shows Keith Whitley’s tragic, but lasting legacy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keith Whitley seemed destined to become a country star with his haunting, soulful baritone honed by his roots in Kentucky bluegrass. But his life was cut tragically short when he died of alcohol poisoning in 1989 at the age of 33.

Thirty years later, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is marking his indelible legacy with an exhibit and a concert featuring Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Tracy Lawrence and more.

The exhibit, which opens Friday and runs until April 2020, is the first to focus solely on the Sandy Hook, Kentucky singer whose No. 1 country hits include “When You Say Nothing At All,” ”I’m No Stranger to the Rain” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” The concert will be held at the Hall of Fame on May 9 — the anniversary of Whitley’s death.