Keith Whitton
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Keith Whitton

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Regional Music Feature: Keith Whitton"

Almost ten years have passed since Nacogdoches musician Keith Whitton first settled in East Texas. And certainly for this artist, it has been a long ten years. As for the success of his music, it's been a long time coming. The former SFA student put his books down for good in 2001 after two years of studies to pursue a music career full time. Sounds great, right? Young musician sets off for college but manages to make his mark in the music biz? While things are falling into place for the seasoned songwriter, it wasn't always so easy.

When the Houston raised musician arrived in Nacogdoches, Tx in 1999, he had some music skill in his bag, and already had a knack for songwriting. Not shy on struggles in life already, the 19 year old also came armed with life experiences to back up the words he would someday put to paper. With an old guitar named "Crazy Strings", Whitton set out and played parties and small gigs wherever he could. “I played covers for a couple of years, and then started coming up with originals here and there until that was my only focus,” Whitton said. He eventually put together a three-piece band and played local gigs. The crowds were friendly, and he started to gain interest from students and people around the town of Nacogdoches. In 2002, the band was able to play a live set on KJCS 103.3 that was broadcasted across a 150 mile region. With a demo in hand, Houston record label Lizard Productions signed Whitton to a contract, ensuring him the opportunity to record a quality studio album. Soon after the signing though, the band broke up. “The label wanted the record to be recorded in Houston, and there was some confusion. My drummer moved to Austin, and it just didn’t work out,” Whitton said.

Ultimately the label agreed to cut the album at Encore Music Studio in Nacogdoches and recording began in 2003 with producer Spence Peppard. “It was so great to work with someone like Spence, who worked at such a fast pace but with precision. He would sit down and move from one song to the next and have the same focus the whole way through.” Whitton said. While the foundation for his success had been laid, the years during the recording of his debut album were personally some of the hardest. “Some the latest stuff I’ve been writing has been about has just been about being lost, spending years on the couch. I slept on people’s couches for three years recording [the album], kind of just lost and trying to find a home.”

In 2004, a hurricane that hit land in Alabama fizzled out over East Texas. After the storm, the studio discovered that almost the entire album had been erased from the hard drive due to a loss of electricity. It was a tough blow to take. “Instead of taking a year and a half to record it took three years,” he explained. After three years of recording, Whitton finally finished in late 2006. Mastering the album was another process in itself, but was finally complete in time to self-release his debut album, Monotonous Musical Monologues, in the summer of 2007. The album chronicled Whitton’s songwriting between the years of 2001-2005, and included regional hits “Georgetown” and “El Camino.”

To hear Keith remark about the difficult times in his life and his dedication to his music is simply inspiring. Commenting about the breakup of his band and frustration of recording his album, he said “I’m so thankful of those times now, it was a good tricycle to ride, being a part of that band, and a leadership role. The loss of the album was tough, but gave me more time with Spence and I also grew as a songwriter.” It would have been much easier to head back to school or get a real job, but in the hard times Whitton made the decision to trust his gut, practice more, and settle for nothing less than perfection. “I went through a period of a few years where I didn’t listen to any outside sources of music so I could truly reflect on my own emotions, and I haven’t stopped since. There’s fantastic music out there, and I am so grateful when I hear it, but for the most part I’m not really looking. I find that music within myself,” he said. While most great songwriters have other musicians that they try to emulate, originality is something that he takes great pride in. “I don’t want it to sound like something else. If it has the same chord progression as some other song you’ve heard before then I’ve never heard it before. You may have heard it, but it is something completely new to me.” It’s an alternative approach, and it is one of the many different ways Whitton succeeds again and again at churning out a quality, original song.

Over the years Keith also began playing with regional bluegrass bands, which he credits with opening his eyes to the more organic music scene. He developed his own strumming style, using his thumb and fingernails in a bluegrass rhythm pattern, but no pick. It delivers a soft sweet sound with a punch. Opting out of the pick also enables the playing of the bass line, numerous fills, walk-ups, and walk-downs so often associated with old-timey pickers, but now a staple of his own music. While there is a distinct difference in style between his debut album and his more recent recordings, he is quick to add that it really isn’t about genre at all. “The song is what’s important. A song can carry itself. From song to song it could be something different. I might be in the same mood for a year of my life and continue on with the bluegrass thing and then it be something different next year. But right now I find great ease and soul in the organic, bluegrass instrumentation. I don’t play traditional bluegrass, because I throw in a lot of minors, although it has its similarities.” he said.

Since the release of Monotonous Musical Monologues, Whitton has added three experienced musicians to his side. Mandolin, rhythm guitar, harmonica and lead vocals are handled by Keith himself. Matt Pusko of Nacogdoches plays lead guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Jeff Perkins of Nacogdoches plays bass and piano. Thomas Oliver of Center adds percussion to the mix. The other three band members have also crafted a blend of smooth harmonies to finish off the vocals in each song. The band played together for several years before forming officially last year. Whitton, who practices on average 35 hours a week, says he has been very thankful for the commitment and dedication of the band. “The artistic part comes easily because of the musicians I play with, but the diligence side of it is what sets some musicians apart. And we have that together. It’s phenomenal to see the results from the hard work, and from people doing it for the right reasons,” he said. His debut album has received airplay on local and Clear Channel Radio, and the band’s recent performance at Pineknot Music Co-op was featured on National Public Radio’s No Cover program.

It’s safe to say that things haven’t always been easy for this artist, but if you’ve met him you know that he has come out wise on the other end. Whether his life experiences have been sad, happy, distressful, or heartbreaking, one thing is for sure; Whitton values all of those experiences as poignant and meaningful times in his life. He learns and discovers new things about himself, others, and the world. In the end, those experiences develop into music, and a therapy for himself. Lucky for us, he has decided to share it, and pass on a little comfort. For that, I am thankful.

Please take the time to support this local musician by visiting If you are a local musician in the East Texas or West Louisiana region and would like to have a feature article written about your band, please email

""Tiny Window..a not so minor introduction""

The Daily Sentinel: Life And Entertainment - Keith Whitton’s new release ‘Tiny Window’ worth the waitAdvanced Search

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Logout | My Dashboard ..HomeLife & Entertainment.A not-so-minor introduction
Keith Whitton’s new release ‘Tiny Window’ worth the wait
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.Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010 2:00 am | Updated: 10:26 pm, Thu Mar 11, 2010.

Adam Lamar | 0 comments

It feels like East Texas as I walk outside Wednesday afternoon. T-shirts can again be classified as outdoor attire, and the weather even smells right. Listening to Keith Whitton's country crooning as it careens its way through my earbuds just seems appropriate.

At first listen, Whitton's new release, "Tiny Window - A Minor Introduction," sounds like the soundtrack to some indie film. A version of "Garden State" set in the East Texas pines comes to mind.

Even before a closer listen is taken, one thing about the record that sticks out is that it definitely moves. There's a sense of momentum that remains constant from track to track. Not too fast, and never so slow that you get stuck in the pine sap, the album's moderate pace is just right, if you'll pardon the three bears reference.

Sonically, the record is a testament to Whitton's ear, as well as studio engineer Byron Reinhardt. All the parts sit in their own space without fighting each other, creating a well-rounded mix that acts as a cushion where Whitton's edgy vocal style sits comfortably.

The record stays true to the bluegrass feel and wordplay Whitton is known for, although it feels a bit more mature this time around.

"I've grown as a songwriter since the last record," Whitton said. "When I was younger, I could just throw some lyrics down on paper and be content with them. Now I'm a lot more picky."

Over all, the recording process was completely different than 2006's "Monotonous Musical Monologues" according to Whitton.

"I learned a lot making the last record," Whitton said. "Before, it was just me and we hired professional musicians to play on the record. This time I've got my band."

The band is rounded out by guitarist Matt Pusko, bassist Jeff Perkins and drummer Thomas Oliver.

Whitton's new family-style creative process has not only helped his live shows, it has also made recording the new album a lot more efficient.

"The whole thing took about two months," Whitton said, "But we recorded the bulk of it in five nights."

Pusko and Perkins pull double duty, respectively, on banjo and piano, and everyone sings on the record. This mix of musical talent pays off on the album's 12 tracks.

Songs like "Padded Room," "Tiny Window," "Hard to Stay" and "Strangers Again" all highlight Whitton's talent as a songwriter, as well as the band's cohesive sound.

On "Memphis Crying" you can feel the river flowing as the banjo and harmonica drive you downstream. The song also garnered Whitton finalist designation in a songwriter-showcase at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tenn. in 2009.

Happy-go-lucky tracks like "Wind Me Up" and "Waving Pines" just feel good as they roll along.

Perkins' lively bass lines underneath Pusko's flamenco-esque picking make "Goodbye" feel a little more south of the border.

Whitton's vocals on the chorus of "Vacant Borderline" conjures up images of Irish settlers. Although, said imagery comes more from the feel of the music than from the lyrics.

Among the darker tracks on the record, "Under the Grip" rings familiar of a Chris Isaak song, with a mildy creepy walkdown at the end of hook. It's a very cool tune.

While comparing Whitton to other songwriters, I'll go ahead and say "That's for Sure" reminds me of Tom Waits. But that might have more to do with Perkins' piano playing.

"Devil Wears Blue" is a slight departure from the rest of the record. While that familiar momentum is there, the head-bob is slowed down, leaving a few more holes in the lace than on other songs. By far, it's my favorite track on the album. I still have no idea why the devil only laughs when he's wearing blue, but the song frequently makes its way onto my iPod's playlists.

After spending a decade behind the pine curtain, Whitton has proved that while a native Houstonian, he truly is an East Texan, and as evidenced by his songwriting, his music truly is East Texas.

Whitton and company will be playing a show in May in conjunction with Hill Country House Concerts in Boerne, but you can catch them a little closer to home on Saturday at the Downtown Historic Music Theatre and Museum in San Augustine.

The new album can be purchased at the show and should be available locally at Hastings, Encore Music and Java Jacks.

For more information on Keith Whitton, visit

Adam Lamar's e-mail address is

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+ .Posted in Life and entertainment, Entertainment on Friday, March 12, 2010 2:00 am Updated: 10:26 pm. | Tags: Adam Lamar, Keith Whitton

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Keith's first album, Monotonous Musical Monologues, made its shelving debut during the summer of 2007. Since the release he has had airplay on Clear Channel Radio and National Public Radio, where the song El Camino is now the official tune of the famed texas/spanish trail. Now that Keith has the band to match his writings the group completed their first studio album in 2009, 'Tiny Window, a minor introduction' getting great regional reviews. One of the songs 'Memphis Crying' was a finalist in a competition sponsored by the bluebird cafe.



Keith Whitton, was born in West Houston, Texas, just one year shy of the eighties. It wasn't until his move in 1999 to the East Texas town of Nacogdoches that he started taking his songwriting to another level. Truly believing that a great song can carry itself is what sets Keith apart from others. Keith even went through a period of several years not listening to any other forms of music just to get a feel for what songwriting should be, original. Always aspiring to have the right level of emotion, melody, and lyrics in his music is what pushes Keith to continue writing, making even his inner most thoughts become an audible picture of his life experiences.

Please check out Keith's website at for more info!