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May 7-9

Why today? Sunday is the 21st anniversary of Whitley’s untimely death from alcohol poisoning.

About the record: RCA 8797-7-R, recorded in late 1987 at Sound Emporium in Nashville. Released in December 1988, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart. It’s first appearance was on Don’t Close Your Eyes, RCA 6494, released May 31, 1988. It reached No. 8 on Billboard’s country album chart.

“I’m No Stranger To The Rain” was Kentucky-born Keith Whitley’s third chart-topping single and was on its way down the charts when he literally drank himself to death at age 34.

About the artist: Whitley was steeped in bluegrass music, especially the work of The Stanley Brothers. His mainstream country career was short but highly influential. He died just before the neotraditionalist movement really took off; I’ve always wondered if he’d have embraced and thrived in that style. His debut country album, A Hard Act To Follow from 1984, was chock full of honky-tonk. Maybe it was released six or seven years too early.

For more on Whitley and his legacy, check out the bio on