Today would have been the 60th birthday of country’s Keith Whitley, who died in 1989. Producer Jonathan Hay, who hails from Kentucky like Whitley, decided to pay tribute to the late singer with “Don’t Close Your Eyes (Ashamed Remix),” a mashup that features Whitley’s 1988 single “Don’t Close Your Eyes” alongside verses from Kxng Crooked and Truth Ali.
“I feel the rap verses really capture the emotional torment of the original,” Hay tells Billboard. “As you may or may not know, Keith Whitley died from alcoholism — Kxng Crooked talks about his own chilling battle with alcoholism in his verse,” he adds of the evocative tribute.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to do this tribute is because I was raised in Kentucky, just like Keith Whitley,” Hay continues. “Being all over the United States, it seems Whitley is more iconic back home in the ‘Bluegrass State’ then he is everywhere else. We want to change that.”
The song will be featured on the TIDAL-exclusive album called The Urban Hitchcock LP, which drops Aug. 4. Listen to “Don’t Close Your Eyes (Ashamed Remix)” exclusively below: