Local artist Randy Hayes was an obvious choice to play at the 30th Anniversary Memorial Concert to honor the late, great country music star, Keith Whitley. Hayes, of Waneta, KY currently runs a recording studio, Digital Basement Studio where he continues to help artists and people with recording needs. Hayes began his professional career with Keith Whitley when he joined JD Crowe back in 1981. In 1983 Whitley moved to Nashville and started a music career of his own. Hayes appeared with Whitley on the popular television series “Hee Haw” on four different occaisions. Hayes said he also played with Whitley on the Grand Ole’ Opry 10-12 times.
In 1988, Whitley released his album titled, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and the first three singles from the album—”When You Say Nothing at All,” “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” and the title cut—all reached number one on Billboard Magazine’s country charts during the fall of 1988 and the winter of 1989, with the title track “Don’t Close Your Eyes” being ranked as Billboard’s No. 1 Country song of 1988. Shortly thereafter, “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” also earned Whitley his first and only Country Music Association award as a solo artist and a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.
Whitley died an untimely death on May 09th, 1989 as a result of alcohol poisoning. This year the Country Music Association will hold a 30th Anniversary Memorial Concert on the date of his death to honor the loss of this country music legend. Hayes was selected to be part of the band that will play behind several country music stars such as Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Mark Chestnut, among many others. “Getting to sing along with these folks is very exciting,” Hayes said. “Keith was a dear friend and it is an honor to be part of this memorial concert.” The concert will be held at the Country Music Hall of Fame CMA Theater in down town Nashville, Tennessee. The following night there will be a “Keith Whitley Fingerprint on Country Music Award Show” held at the Texas Troubadour Theater (also in Nashville, TN).
Hayes is in the process of writing a book recalling his days touring with Whitley called, “Its All Coming Back to Me Now”. He also has available to the public for purchase an impressive collection of archived material relating to Whitley’s career. In his archives are 13 DVDs, and 18 CDs worth of material. Hayes says the best way to contact him for prices and availability is on his Facebook page.