- Richard D. Smith
Whitley, Keith (01 July 1954–09 May 1989), country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist, was born Jackie Keith Whitley in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, the son of Elmer Jackson Whitley, an electrical contractor and oil well maintenance worker, and Faye Ferguson. Whitley, who was in the vanguard of the 1980s country music boom, was inspired to play music by his mother, who played guitar, banjo, and organ as a hobby, and his older brother Dwight, who played guitar and banjo semiprofessionally in local country music bands. Keith began singing at local shows by age four, learned to play guitar at age six, and first appeared on a radio show at age eight. He and Dwight later performed on regional live shows, radio, and television, first as the Whitley Brothers and later as members of the Lonesome Mountain Boys....