LifeNotes: Nashville Songwriter AJ Masters Passes

AJ Masters. Photo: Dak Alley

AJ Masters. Photo: Dak Alley

Nashville songwriter and artist AJ Masters died Monday (Jan. 12) after complications from prostate cancer.

Masters was born in New York and raised in California. His first cut as a songwriter came in 1978 with Mickey Jones’ “I’m No Cowboy.”

Masters was signed with independent label Bermuda Dunes Records in the mid-1980s, and released the album Back Home. Within three years, he had 10 charted singles. He was also nominated for New Male Vocalist by the ACM. Among his singles were “They Don’t Play None of Mine,” “Lonely Together,” “In It Again,” “Back Home,” “I Don’t Mean Maybe,” and “Love Keep Your Distance.”

Masters earned a BMI Millionaire Award for the 1990s song “Change My Mind” (recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys and John Berry), and a multi-platinum honor for “Love Ain’t Like That” (recorded by Faith Hill). He also penned Randy Travis’ “An Old Pair of Shoes.” During the 1990s, he played guitar for Charlie Rich.

He wrote songs for Diamond Rio, Charlie Rich, Jr., Gene Watson, Ray Scott, Steve Azar, Georgia Middleman, and others, and earned a lifetime membership with NSAI.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. at Fontanel Mansion (4225 Whites Creek Pike). Family requests that any attendees who have worked with Masters, and who want to perform a song in his honor at the celebration, are welcome to perform.

As the celebration of life is being arranged, industry members can send any photos they have of A.J. to [email protected], to be used in the celebration of life event.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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