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Sons rekindle father’s musical dreams

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Caleb Whittington’s dream of being a musician took a back seat to raising his family. But only for a short while.Face to face with a mounted deer hanging on the wall, 14-year-old Parker Whittington picked at the strings and twisted the tuning knobs of his mandolin. His older brother Keenan tinkered with the various knobs on his amplifier. Dad – Caleb – stood ready with his acoustic guitar strapped over his shoulder while bassist Don Pennington thumped the thick strings of the instrument to a rhythm in his mind.Rehearsal was about to begin.Keenan, 17, dressed in cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans and a flannel shirt – a near mirror of his father – began strumming along with the bass. Then in an instant, the whole band joined in. They were just getting warmed up for the evening with a window cracked and a cool breeze blowing through the room.Caleb dreamed of becoming a country music star in Nashville in his younger days. He spent about six months in the famous music city and managed to get a few published songs under his belt.Caleb and his wife, Kitty, decided that it would be good for him to go and see what came of his efforts. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that he had a more important role to play.

Being a father.His first son Keenan was just a baby then, and it didn’t take long for Caleb to realize that family was more important than music.So he packed up his guitars, and his dreams, and returned to Glenwood Springs. Little did he know his dreams where just budding.Fast-forward 17 years later and you’ll see that same guy, standing in his quaint living room, crowded with amplifiers and guitars, cords and microphones. It seconds as a sound stage two nights a week for rehearsals.Both of his young sons accompany their dad in a country-bluegrass style band fittingly called “The Whittingtons.””I never dreamed that I would play with them like this,” Caleb said. “But on the other side, I’m honored to play with them because they’re really talented.”

It’s that talent that really got Caleb jazzed about music again. Watching his sons grow into accomplished musicians is something that has inspired Caleb, and it was no surprise to him that they chose guitars and mandolins over baseball bats and mitts.”Music was something that they’ve always known,” Caleb said. “You don’t have any idea if they’ll be musically talented, but it’s just natural that music is what they wanted to do.”Caleb played with several bands in venues up and down the valley while his sons where growing. Keenan would stay up late and listen to his dad’s band practice.”He (Keenan) would fall asleep while we were playing,” Caleb said. “I don’t know how he did it.”And then it happened. Another of Caleb’s dreams came true when 6-year-old Keenan picked up a guitar and started picking at the strings.Keenan is the lead guitar and shares vocals with dad. Parker plays the mandolin and is starting to play fiddle a little. The family has spent a lot of time together over the past year with writing and recording their debut album, “World ain’t the same.”



Caleb and Keenan co-wrote all the songs, and Parker pitched in on a few.”Parker’s nonstop,” Caleb boasted. “He’s always practicing.”As for Keenan, Caleb thinks his son has that something that he didn’t. That certain something that will take Keenan further than he ever got.”Keenan is better than most of the guitar players I’ve played with,” Caleb said. “I don’t have the ear that he does, he knows more about music and can play better than I can.”The family is preparing Keenan for Nashville. Like his father before, he’s going to the music city in search of a career in the business.”I don’t really ever remember a certain moment where I remember wanting to play music,” Keenan said. “It’s just always been something that I wanted to do.”

An innate dream that started with his dad.Dreams are funny that way. Sometimes when one looks lost, it shows up again, 17 years and two sons later.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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