Jesse Keith Whitley has generations of country music pumping through his veins. The son of Lorrie Morgan and the late Keith Whitley, and grandson of Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan, Jesse was born with the gift of singing and songwriting. At age 23, Jesse has launched into his own career by signing with Octabrook Entertainment for touring and recording projects.
His debut EP, Kentucky Thunder (produced by James Stroud) includes the rockin’ country title cut, a poignant cover of his father’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes”—with back-up vocals courtesy of Mom!—and “Can’t Drive You From My Mind” which Jesse co-wrote with Jon Randall (“Whiskey Lullaby”). At a packed performance at Nashville’s Hard Rock Café in May, Jesse celebrated the release of the six-song EP with family, friends, fans and media in the audience.
Jesse Keith shows off his ability to sing traditional country and like both of his parents, he’s damn good at it.” ~Roughstock
Jesse has toured with his mother, playing popular venues in the Nashville area and all across the country. His performances have driven packed houses to their feet as he delivers his own brand of country, a mix of heartfelt ballads, southern rock and hard drivin’ country.
Having grown up in the music industry and being around performers his entire life, Jesse knows well the work and sacrifice needed in order to succeed in music, no matter who your parents may be. Jesse is currently writing and working in the studio on his first full album, slated for release in late 2011.
“…comparisons (to his mom and dad) will quickly vanish away and he will be able to stand on his own. [The Hard Rock show was a] great introduction to his music and [Jesse] as an artist.” ~Today’s Country
Lorrie Morgan was in the front row as her son accepted the recent induction honor into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame on behalf of his father. Jesse touched the audience that evening with a brilliant performance of one of the late Keith Whitley’s hits, “Miami, My Amy”.
“There is something in Jesse’s voice that is so familiar, so undeniable,” Lorrie says, “But he’s doing it his own way, as he does everything, and that makes me proud.”
He may have sprung from music legends, but Jesse is no “re-run.” Kentucky Thunder provides the different sides of Jesse Keith and his music. He embraces his traditional country roots and includes a pleasing mix of outlaw country, rough and raw southern rock, and a tender side as well.
“I know I have big shoes to fill,” Jesse says, “but I want to do it my own way. I am so grateful that my name has opened doors, but I plan to earn the right to stay inside those doors.”
It is clear that Jesse Keith Whitley is eager to craft his own distinctive style as both a singer and songwriter while still tipping his hat to tradition. This third generation singer/songwriter is here to work and here to stay.
Where to catch up with Jesse Keith Whitley during CMA Fest:
Friday, June 10
1:45 p.m. -2:00 p.m.
Gibson Guitar Acoustic Stage at Hard Rock Café, Broadway at 2nd Avenue
2:00 p.m. -2:30 p.m.
Gibson Guitar Meet and Greet tent
2:30 p.m.- 2:45p.m.
Gibson Guitar Acoustic Stage at Hard Rock Café,
Sunday, June 12
2:00 p.m. -2:30 p.m.
WSM Acoustic Stage, Convention Center
2:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
WSM booth, Convention Center