Musically talented local individuals are being sought for a chance at discovery at a first-ever country music awards program this summer in Kentucky organized by a local country music promoter.
Fayette County native Johnny Deans, the promoter, manager and emcee of the event, said this week that the Keith Whitley Fingerprint on Country Music Awards on July 1 will provide an opportunity for local musicians to highlight their talents and be discovered.
Keith Whitley died on May 9, 1989 at the age of 33. His later two singles, “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” and “It Ain’t Nothin’” were released after his death. “Til a Tear Becomes a Rose,” a 1987 demo taken from Tree that originally featured harmony vocals by childhood friend Ricky Skaggs, was one of two new songs added to his greatest hits.
Country star Lorrie Morgan, who married Whitley in 1986, recorded her voice alongside Whitley’s in the song which won them the 1990’s CMA award for Best Vocal Collaboration.
Deans, who has lived in Hillsboro the past 14 years, said this week he is particularly interested in providing an opportunity for talented individuals from Highland, Fayette, Clinton, Brown, Adams and other southern Ohio locations to showcase their talents at the July 1 event, which is Whitley’s birthday.
Performing at the ceremony in Morehead, Ky., will be Ralph Stanley II, Judy Marshall, Randy Hayes and Dwight Whitley. Ralph Stanley II is the headliner, and his father, country legend Ralph Stanley, is up for an award.
The concert is sponsored by Classified Country Entertainment LLC and Friends of Keith Whitley, and will be held Friday, July 1 at 80 Poppy Mountain Rd., Morehead, Ky., where there will be camping. After the concert, Deans and members of Friends of Keith Whitley will be scouting the camping areas and listening and watching music hopefuls as they demonstrate their skills in jam sessions.
“Whether they have a band, or just their guitar, they’ll have a chance to perform for us,” said Deans. He said the goal is to find talented individuals to be showcased at future Friends of Keith Whitley events.
For more information, call 614-582-4000.