Manager Fred Kewley Passes

Fred Kewley

Fred Kewley

Fred Kewley, noted for managing several top country, pop and folk artists, has died at age 70.

Kewley died at his home in Franklin, Tenn., on Sunday, June 23, and his memorial service is scheduled for July 15.

In Nashville, he is particularly noted for having managed Country Music Hall of Fame member Chet Atkins during the latter years of the legend’s life.

He was the executive producer of the 1987 Cinemax cable TV special A Session with Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player. This show was also marketed as Chet Atkins and Friends and later became a 2010 PBS fund-raising special. It co-starred Atkins with Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, The Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, Waylon Jennings and others. Kewley was also involved in several Atkins albums.

In addition, he managed Nashville pop/country singer Michael Johnson. Earlier in his career, he guided folk-pop artist Harry Chapin to stardom. Other management clients included singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and jazz guitarist Earl Klugh.

Frederick Norman Kewley was a graduate of Cornell University, where he was the director/arranger of the school’s a cappella vocal group The Sherwoods. He was also a U.S. Army veteran.

He is survived by wife Cathy Maciejewski Kewley, sons Josh and Joe, daughter Rebecca, their mother Sandy Kewley, brother Joe and sister Jan.

Fred Kewley’s memorial service will be conducted on Monday, July 15, at 5:55 p.m. at Ben’s Studio — formerly known at RCA Studio B — at 30 Music Sq. W. He will be buried on July 16 at Middle Tennessee Veteran’s Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project (223 Rosa Parks Ave., Suite 301, Nashville, TN 37203) or to The Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer research (1111 Stewart Ave., Bethpage, NY 11714).


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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