Mary Martin, Country Manager Who Worked With Keith Urban and Vince Gill, Dead at 85

Mary Martin, a legendary manager in the country music world, died on July 4 at 85 years old, per a statement from the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was instrumental in launching many country music careers, including Emmylou Harris and Keith Urban.

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According to the social media post, Martin initially encouraged Urban to move from Australia to Nashville and pursue his country music dreams. She was also pivotal in the careers of Clint Black, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippen, and Paul Overstreet. She was also Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell’s manager.

“Time and again, Mary Martin spotted great talents and elevated their careers,” the Country Music Hall of Fame wrote in their statement. “Early on, she connected Bob Dylan to her friends the Hawks, who became the Band. She managed Leonard Cohen in his first musical outings, then guided the budding solo careers of Van Morrison, Rodney Crowell, and Vince Gill.” They added, “Mary’s unerring feel for songs and performers was legendary, and she was a fierce ally for the artists she represented.”

Mary Martin Has Died at Age 85, Helped Discover Great Country Music and Rock and Roll Talent

Mary Martin was born in Toronto, Canada, but got her start in New York City as an assistant to Albert Grossman, who worked with Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin, among others. That position got Martin’s foot in the door, and one of the first artists she worked with was Leonard Cohen.

She moved to Nashville in the mid-80s, working in A&R for many different record labels like RCA and Warner Bros. She was a manager, an executive, and ran fundraising departments for these record labels as well. Martin was also a producer, and won a GRAMMY Award in 2002 for her work on the Hank Williams album Timeless.

According to a report from The Tennessean, Mary Martin donated her letters and other papers to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “[The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum] is honored that Mary donated her personal papers to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Library & Archives, where we will forever preserve and share her place as a pioneering female agent and executive in an industry that was heavily dominated by men,” stated Hall of Fame CEO Greg Harris. “[Her] firm and clear vision in working with some of the most important artists of the 20th century in rock & roll, country and Americana resulted in music that impacted countless music fans for the last half century and will continue far into the future.”

Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMHOF

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