Ernest give the rock sign and laughing while holding a guitar and wearing a denim shirt, wool pattern jacket and black Leota Country Frolic trucker cap on stage at Two Step Inn 2024.

Ernest, Drake Milligan and Sierra Ferrell Pay Unforgettable Tribute to Late Legend Keith Whitley at Two Step Inn 2024

April 21, 2024 3:29 am GMT
Last Edited April 23, 2024 10:01 am GMT

email logo
link icon

Link copied

Content Sponsor
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]

Featured photos by Laura Ord

Since his passing in 1989, Keith Whitley has become a legend, his music virtually inseparable from a certain time and place in country music. In that time, the icon's legacy has been shared and documented by fans, fellow country greats and beyond, but few artists appreciate Whitley and his legend quite like Ernest.

During Two Step Inn's opening day on Saturday (April 20), the 'Flower Shops' star showcased his adoration for the 'Don't Close Your Eyes' artist by hosting a special set in his memory.

“With it being the 35th anniversary of losing the legend Keith Whitley, the fellas and I are going to play a 45-minute tribute set with some special guests,” Ernest shared with fans on social media ahead of the festival appearance. “Keith Whitley means so much to me and the country music community, one of the greatest voices that ever graced the genre of country music. It’s an honor to be able to honor him.”

Honor the legend Ernest did, but he wasn't alone it the endeavor.

Ernest mainly acted as ringleader during the set – dubbed Keith Whitley Forever – welcoming guests, friends and fellow Whitley-devotees to the stage to share their versions of the late star's hits.

First up was his son, Jesse Keith Whitley, who followed in his dad's footsteps of becoming an artist. The musician took the lead on the first three songs, delivering stirring renditions of his father's 'I'm Over You' and 'Tell Lorrie I Love Her'. He then offered up one of his own songs called 'Out of the Shadows', a song he wrote by his father's graveside.

Drake Milligan was announced to the spotlight next. He gave a mesmerizing performance of Whitley's all-time classic 'Don't Close Your Eyes' before being followed by Ernest, who showed off one of his personal Whitley favorites: 'Miami, My Amy'.

Sierra Ferrell then joined Ern for a moving duet of 'When You Say Nothing at All', the crowd lapping up the surprising collaboration. The bandleader's steel guitarist took the mic after for a rendition of 'Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her.'

Soon after, Zach Top rounded out the all-star display, taking the stage to close out the tribute with striking re-imaginings of 'I Never Go Around Mirrors' and more.

Keith Whitley Forever marked a heartfelt moment amidst all the Two Step Inn hoopla, giving fans the chance to revisit the songs they love and the stars the opportunity to pay homage to one of their heroes.

For more on Ernest, see below:

Written by Alli Patton, Images by Laura Ord
Content Sponsor
Zach Top playing an electric guitar in a denim jacket, blue striped shirt and black cowboy hat, with blue jeans on. A drummer sits behind him.

Zach Top Covers Chris Stapleton and Establishes He Is Newcomer No Longer at Two Step Inn 2024

Lily Balkcom of The Castellows performs in a brown dress and white cowboy hat, singing into a microphone with a drummer behind her.

The Castellows Prove Their Talents Lie Far Beyond Likes and Views at Two Step Inn 2024

Lainey Wilson in a black and white photograph

Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll, Tyler Childers and More to Feature on Twisters Film Soundtrack

Artist - Cody Johnson Live 2

Cody Johnson to Take the 'American Idol' Stage During Live Season Finale