Acoustic Music Kingpin Keith Case Passes

Keith Case.

Longtime Nashville booking agent and artist manager Keith Case died Tuesday (Sept. 3) at age 79.

His Keith Case & Associates firm was arguably the most important booker of acoustic-music in the history of Music Row. At various times, Keith represented troubadours such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, John Hartford, Mary Gauthier, Suzy Bogguss, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jesse Winchester, Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen and Elizabeth Cook.

He also booked the bluegrass acts Blue Highway, The Seldom Scene, King Wilkie, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Sierra Hull, The Steeldrivers, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Steep Canyon Rangers and Ralph Stanley; acoustic experimentalists David Bromberg and Dan Tyminski; gospel legends The Fairfield Four and a number of other roots, Americana and folk artists.

He was a key figure in developing the career of Alison Krauss & Union Station.

Case has also been associated with Matraca Berg, Mike Ferris, Rhonda Vincent, Pete Wernick, Hot Rize, Tim & Mollie O’Brien, The Del McCoury Band, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jeannie Kendall, Ronnie Bowman, The Greencards, Gurf Morlix and Slaid Cleaves.

Many of Case’s clients were in the soundtrack cast of O Brother Where Art Thou, which was the Grammy Album of the Year in 2000.

Keith Case began his career as a booking agent in Denver. He moved to Nashville in 1982 and formed his own company two years later. Case was a founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), as well as an important figure in the Folk Alliance organization. He was also a mentor to Denise Stiff, the longtime manager of Krauss, Tyminski and Sarah Jarosz.

When he retired, Keith Case & Associates was renamed KCA Artists. He helped his company’s operations move to The Cumberland Music Collective, which is the agency run by Case’s former vice president Lee Olsen.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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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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