“Music is my connection to what the world doesn’t know about me” -Unknown
It’s no secret that I’m a huge music lover. I get lost in it. It produces words and phrases to stuff I’m thinking or feeling and helps me make people understand. I wish there was a song to describe the emotion I felt sitting down with Jesse Keith Whitley to talk music.
You’re probably sitting here reading this and thinking “Who is she talking about?” or “That name sounds familiar.” Lucky for you I have a big mouth and you’re going to learn today. Jesse Keith is the grandson of Grand Old Opry star George Morgan (‘Candy Kisses’) and the son of Lorrie Morgan (‘Something In Red’, ‘Dear Me’, ‘Watch Me’) and the late Keith Whitley (‘I’m No Stranger To The Rain’, ‘Miami, My Amy’, ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’) All of which are amazing artist with distinct voices, seriously if you haven’t heard any of those songs I named off go to YouTube and memorize all those songs and more.
I messaged Jesse Keith’s fan page on Facebook almost a year ago and to be honest I never expected a response. I messaged him and asked if I could interview him for a show I had just joined called All Twang TV, it was going out on a limb and hoping I didn’t come off as some chick who was crazy. To my surprise I got a response and at a later time a confirmation. He was down for the interview! I was in utter shock cause I’m going to tell you right now, he’s a big deal! Unfortunately, the morning of the interview I woke up with a kidney stone and couldn’t make it. I drove back all the way from Tennessee in pain and mad as hell… So much so, if I had a scalpel to cut out my right kidney that day I would’ve done it and threw it at a semi. As luck would have it, a gentleman by the name of Ken McMeans read my Keith Whitley blog and told me he’d hook a sister up with another time and place for the interview. (Well it wasn’t quite like that but you get the idea.) I was ecstatic! So through several messages we lined up a date, time and location and it was set in stone.
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t get nervous. At all. But I wasn’t interviewing just anyone, I was interviewing Jesse Keith friggin Whitley. So with my mother and 5 bags of luggage in tow we hopped in my Volkswagen Beetle and sped down to Stafford Texas to get geared up for the interview. For almost a year now I’ve been putting together a list of questions to ask and forgot it in Oklahoma… Yep I was on my own, which I do fly by the seat of my britches so I thought ‘Okay no big deal, I got this.’ With the encouragement and support from my friends and family I was confident about it. We agreed to do the interview when he did his sound check so we arrived early and looked around to get an idea of how to set up and its an outside venue. The panic sets in… I was not prepared for an outside interview; it was cooler in the pits of hell, humid, and the wind was slightly blowing and my camera…. yeah it picks up the slightest noise. We figured out ways around being outside and might I add a huge thanks and shout out to the members that work at the Redneck Country Club. Those folks were super nice and accommodating to what we had going on. If you’re ever in the Stafford/Sugarland area please stop by and see the place. It’s amazing!
Jesse is super nice and laid back, I even told him he reminded me of my little brother Dustin with the things he says and how he walks. Was I nervous once I met him and chit chatted? No, like I said it was like being around my little brother; the joking around and the sense of humor. What I do get nervous about is a camera in my face and the pressure of not looking like a fool with my no questions. (Remember I packed everything except my list of questions) I mean I get so nervous I forget my name! Who does that?! Just sitting there shooting the bull with someone is so easy, as soon as the camera is set up and its recording I forget what’s going on. Even with Jesse, he even asked me “What are you nervous about, it’s just me.” It’s the pressure of being flawless and everything going smooth. In the end we agreed to sit down in the hotel and do the interview there just so there would be no background noise and it wouldn’t be hotter than hell.
We sat down and what happens? I gigglesnort and cackle right when my mom hit record… (*drops head and whispers* I know I know, I’ll never outgrow the gigglesnort…) Thank you sweet eight pound baby Jesus swaddled in lambs cloth for editing. My mind went blank on what to say but I did my best to ask questions I know I was curious about. Keep in mind I steer clear of questions that raise eyebrows or might tick someone off. I told Jesse from the get go that I wasn’t going to be disrespectful with my questions, this is why, he took time out of his day, schedule and life to sit down with me, a girl from Oklahoma to talk music, family and Texas. I want the person I’m interviewing to feel like they’re talking with a friend, not being an artist and I’m a reporter and it was no different with Jesse. I told Jesse two things after the interview: 1) He’s a hard person to interview 2) I don’t look at him like he’s a singer but I consider him a friend. Here’s why I say he was a hard person to interview, he was very professional. I ain’t used to that. Now I’m not saying the other artist I’ve interviewed wasn’t because they were but Jesse was very to the point and matter of factly. He wasn’t vague nor did he beat around the bush and I’m not gonna lie, he threw me off my game. (Jesse-1 RDL-0) We stuck around and hung out with Jesse afterwards and once again it felt like hanging out with my little brother. We told funny stories about our families and talked music and merchandise. (Yes I’ll proudly sport my JKW shirt around and once my Red Dirt Lisa shirts come in I’m sending him one to wear. Jesse, I’m holding you to that!)
We headed to the Redneck Country Club and waited for Jesse to perform. He killed it. His voice, stage presence, and the way to handle a crowd blew me away. Yeah I’ve YouTubed him and watched how he interacts with a large crowd but it’s so much different in person. Everyone had fun and not only did he do his tunes but some of his daddy’s, one of Clint Black’s chart toppers and covers of Tyler Farr’s ‘Redneck Crazy’ and Brantley Gilbert’s ‘Saving Amy’. I strongly suggest y’all reading this to go see him live, buy his stuff on iTunes and go ‘like’ his page on Facebook to keep up with what he’s doing. Call your local music venues and request them to bring Jesse Keith to your area as well. I’m telling you, he’s gonna be bigger than life and you’re gonna want to say “I’ve been a fan of his since before he was selling out venues and topping the charts.”
Until next time, bye y’all!