Picks and Pans Review: Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Various Artists

The world of country music suffered a loss when singer-songwriter Keith Whitley died from an alcohol overdose at the age of 33 in 1989. Whitley possessed a pure, distinctive voice that could put a grin on your face (his posthumous hit, "It Ain't Nothin' ") or make you weep (the heartbreaking "Don't Close Your Eyes"). The latter song, nicely covered here by Alan Jackson, opens this loving tribute from singers including Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence and Mark Chesnutt doing the songs that put Whitley on the country map. There is even an all-star sing-along ("A Voice Still Rings True," written expressly for this project). But while the artists paying their respects do their best to capture the spirit of Whitley's originals, it is the four previously unreleased cuts sung by the man himself (including "I Just Want You," a seductive duet with his wife, Lorrie Morgan, who coproduced this album) that ultimately prove to be the most satisfying. The opportunity to once again hear Whitley's velvety twang is reason enough to give this tribute a listen. (BNA)"

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