Jesse Keith Whitley, the son of the legendary late Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan, and the grandson of Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan, was born with the amazing talent of singing and songwriting. In May 2011, Jesse released his debut album Kentucky Thunder, produced by James Stroud. The album included a cover of his father’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “Can’t Drive You From My Mind,” a song he co-wrote with Jon Randall (who also wrote “Whiskey Lullaby”), and the song “Why The Hell Not,” which has a really southern country sound and lyrics with a little attitude. Recently Jesse released a new single “Saving Amy” (written by Brantley Gilbert), which is rising up the charts.
He got his start when he had the opportunity to sing a song with his mother, and they went to the studio with James Stroud, who is now Jesse’s producer, to record the single. As a teenager he toured all across the country with his mother, Lorrie Morgan, and played at popular venues in Nashville. Each time he plays, his shows are packed with screaming fans.
His mother, Lorrie Morgan, is a big inspiration to Jessie and his music. “Every time I go to her show, she touches someone in the crowd, to be on stage with her is a blessing. I consider her one of the great legends in country music,” he says. ” And Lorrie Morgan is always there to support her son.
Jesse is inspired by many of the legendary men in country music such as Tim McGraw, Tracy Bird, Sammy Kershaw—to whom his mother was married for over a decade—and of course his father, the late Keith Whitley. He grew up listening to legends like these and now he is up on stage playing with them. Taking what the legends have taught him, Jesse is branching out with his own style as a singer and songwriter, while still keeping in mind the words of his mother: “She always taught me there’s going to be positive and negative. You just have to rise above the negative and learn from it.”
Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in February is the next stop for Jesse, where he plans to interact with the radio guys and the up-and-coming artists, and a new album is already in the works.
Growing up a legend’s son, it’s hard for someone to make a name for himself and not live in the shadow of his parents, and in Jesse’s case, his grandparents too. Jesse has not only made a name for himself, but he did it by creating his own individual style. It’s clear that Jesse is here to stay.
By Summer Rison