Maybe you’ve heard him, too. Two of his songs, “Woman Taken” and “The Things You Do,” are getting rotation on 95.9 KCKL radio, based in Malakoff. No doubt Whitt — who grew up in LaRue — will be forever grateful about the treatment he’s been given thus far. After talking to him for just a few minutes, there’s also no doubt he’s got his sights set on bigger stages, as well.

Whitt’s first album, “Eight Second High,” was recently completed, a CD comprised of 11 tracks, including the title cut. An album release party is in the works, and performances have been booked around the state, where Whitt and his backers hope to begin to spread the word about this home grown country boy sound.

“I’m trying to keep things real with country music, and at the same time, write with my heart,” Whitt said. “You don’t see a lot of that anymore.”

Famed Texas producer Robin Hood Brians produced “Eight Second High.” Brians has been in the music business since the 1960s, and has produced such names as ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown and Athens’ own Tony Douglas.

Most of the album was originally recorded a couple of years ago, but according to Brians, Whitt would listen to the tracks and point out parts he thought he could lay down better. The album was then reworked this summer, an effort that included the addition of the title track and some shuffling of the songs.

“He’s progressed very fast, Brians said. “He knows a hook when he hears it, and he understands what people want to hear.”

Whitt wrote or co-wrote every track on the CD. He said ideas from songs were original and heart-felt. “Woman Taken” was written after a dream; “I’m Goin’ Back” is straight from the heart, a song he says was inspired by “things a country boy would miss” if he were away from home. “You” was written with Genesis, the first book of the Bible, as inspiration.

Songwriting is how Whitt got into the business. He said he initially would write the songs and was trying to pitch them to other artists. Eventually, someone approached him and told him he needed to be singing the songs himself with the talent he had.

“This all just jumped on me,” Whitt said. “It wasn’t something I’m looking for.”

Whitt said he can be himself when he’s on stage performing. He likes the fact that the audience expects nothing more from him than to show up, perform at a high level and move on. Living the honky tonk dream, so to speak, is home sweet home for him.

Brians said it’s this trait of Whitt’s that distinguishes him and puts him in a category of artists such as Willie Nelson and Marty Robbins — who would often stay hours past the end of a performance to just have fun with an audience.

“I think as I look at the artists who’ve made it over the years ... all the ones who’ve made it had one thing in common, and it’s that they really wanted to do that,” Brians said. “He does have a fire in his gut to do it. You give me 10 artists to choose from, and I’ll take the one with fire in his gut anytime. ... We’re just excited about the way he’s developed.”

Whitt shows an incredible amount of confidence in his work — although his demeanor still comes off as that of a humble country boy. Of “Eight Second High,” he says the tracks will really open people’s eyes. But he is especially high on his new work, including a few songs he’s written and about to lay down in a studio hopefully in the coming weeks. And he hopes his next album will include one of the first songs he ever wrote, “Kinda Sudden.”

“I’m willing to go wide open with all this,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”



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