See Chris Young's Mesmerizing Keith Whitley Tribute - Rolling Stone
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See Chris Young’s Mesmerizing Keith Whitley Tribute

Country’s powerhouse vocalist nods to his chief influence with a performance of “When You Say Nothing at All”

One of the many highlights of CMA Music Festival in Nashville every year is the fan club parties hosted by artists as a way to thank their most fervent supporters. For Chris Young, his fan-centric event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum last week was a chance to perform some of his hits and also pay tribute to a few of his musical inspirations.

In addition to his own songs, including “Aw Naw,” “Getting’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” and “Drinkin’ Me Lonely,” Young, flanked by an acoustic and electric guitar player, dusted off an unplugged take on ZZ Top’s Eighties rocker “Sharp Dressed Man.” He also revisited his country roots with a sweet rendition of “When You Say Nothing at All,” which was first a hit for Keith Whitley in 1988, when Young himself was very young — 3 years old.

The second of five consecutive Number One hits for Whitley, who died of alcohol poisoning less than a year later, the tune penned by veteran writers Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet would return to the top of the charts seven years later in a version by Alison Krauss. Her interpretation went on to be named CMA Single of the Year.

Young is currently on tour and has recently announced the dates for his headlining fall trek. The I’m Comin’ Over Tour with Cassadee Pope, plus Dustin Lynch and Dan + Shay on various dates, launches September 29th in Bakersfield, California.

In This Article: Chris Young, Keith Whitley


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