Hear Aaron Lewis’ Never-Recorded Keith Whitley Song, ‘Burnt the Sawmill Down’
Aaron Lewis' new album, State I'm In, includes a never-before-released song co-written by the late 1980s country star Keith Whitley. Readers can press play above to hear the track, "Burnt the Sawmill Down."
Whitley co-wrote "Burnt the Sawmill Down" with Jim Elliot. The late singer's son, Jesse Keith Whitley -- whose mother is Whitley's widow, country singer Lorrie Morgan -- gave Lewis his blessing to record the track.
“It was pretty cool that Jesse wanted to hear what I could do with that song,” Lewis tells Taste of Country. According to Lewis, Keith Whitley had recorded part of the song in a hotel room, onto a cassette that remained untouched for years.
“It was just so pure. I mean, the 12-string guitar he was playing was completely out of tune, but there was something there." Lewis explains. "We took what he had represented. It was a pretty amazing experience. The whole thing was pretty amazing.”
Whitley died in 1989 at the age of 33, after years of battling alcoholism. The Kentucky native released only three albums and one EP in his relatively short career, but he scored a number of Top 40 country hits, including five No. 1 singles. Whitley's last single before he passed away, "I'm No Stranger to the Rain," was the third of those five, and hit the top of the charts just one month before his untimely death.
In 2019, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of Whitley's death, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open an exhibit about the singer, on May 3. On May 9, the exact 30th anniversary of the day that Whitley died, his son and Morgan will host a tribute concert featuring Garth Brooks, Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Mark Wills, Darryl Worley and Trisha Yearwood, among others, at the Hall of Fame.
Lewis' State I'm In debuted on Friday (April 12). It's the third full-length country album from the Staind frontman.
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