Erv Woolsey, long-time Strait manager, passes away
HomeNewsInterviewsCD ReleasesCD ReviewsConcertsArtistsArchive

Erv Woolsey, long-time Strait manager, passes away

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 – Erv Woolsey, manager of George Strait, Dierks Bentley and Lee Ann Womack, passed peacefully this morning in Clearwater, Fla.

Under doctors' care due to complications from surgery, the Texas-born, longtime Nashville resident also manged Clay Walker and Ronnie Milsap.

Strait said, ""My manager for around 45 years and most importantly my friend for even longer, Erv Woolsey passed away this morning. He had complications from a surgery and just couldn't overcome it. He was a very tough man and fought hard, but sadly it was just too much. We will miss him so very much and will never forget all the time we had together. Won't ever be the same without him."

Born Feb. 15, 1944 in Houston, Woolsey spent his entire professional life in the music business. After graduating from Southwest Texas State University in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in business, Woolsey went to work in the promotion department at Decca Records. He spent time at several record labels before moving to Nashville in 1973 as the head of promotions for ABC Records' newly-opened country division where he elevated the careers of Johnny Rodriguez, Jimmy Buffett, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Donna Fargo, Freddy Fender and the Amazing Rhythm Aces.

At the same time, Woolsey and his then wife Connie owned The Prairie Rose, a club in San Marcos, Texas. It was there he first saw and met George Strait. Woolsey booked Strait regularly to perform.

Woolsey followed a string of successes at ABC with a long run at MCA during the '80s. He promoted Barbara Mandrell, Don Williams, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty and The Oak Ridge Boys and Lee Greenwood at country radio.

In 1981, in the wake of "Urban Cowboy" and on the verge of a new traditionalist movement, Woolsey convinced label head Jim Foglesong to sign Strait to a recording deal at MCA Records, his label home to this day. "Unwound," Strait's debut single, reached number six on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, launching his career.

In 1984, Woolsey left MCA to devote himself full-time to managing Strait's career. Strait would win Entertainer of the Year Awards across four decades, as he and his manager broke ground with 1992's Jerry Weintraub-produced major motion picture "Pure Country," which captured Strait's larger than life charisma, and the stadium-sized George Strait Country Festival Tours, starting in 1995.

Woolsey also was a songwriter. He co-wrote "In Too Deep" on Strait's 1985 "Something Special" and was a writer on Strait's number one hit "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" on the 1996 Country Music Association Album of the Year "Blue Clear Sky."

Alongside business partner Steve Ford, he opened The Trap, across from the former Adelphia Stadium, home of Nashville's NFL team, the Titans, before opening three other venues – Losers, Winners and the Dawg House.

He continued working with new acts, including Ian Munsick, Davisson Brothers Band, Kylie Frey, Triston Marez, Nick Davisson, Zach Neil, Stone Senate and Vince Herman over the last few years.

Woolsey served on the Board of Directors for the Country Music Association, as well as the Tennessee Museum of History.

He is survived by his son Clint, ex-wife Connie, brother David and sister Beth, and preceded in death by his parents, John and Mavis Woolsey, and brother Johnny Woolsey.

Details on arrangements will be shared at a future date.

More news for George Strait

CD reviews for George Strait

CD review - Honky Tonk Time Machine At this stage of his nearly four-decades-long career, George Strait sure knows his sweet spot. Take a look at the cover of his 30th studio album, and it's understood that it's the honky tonks that are part and parcel of the tall Texan. Not to mention the title. And that means, Strait is going to be singing about drinking, loving and faith in styles ranging from honky tonk to straight ahead country to Tex-Mex stylings to ballads. You're also going to hear fiddle and pedal steel ...
CD review - Cold Beer Conversation recording front. This surprise release shows an artist now in his early 60s completely capable of being the leading voice for his brand of country music, which is increasingly rare these days. Strait always has enjoyed a voice that resonates and is dexterous depending on the style. And the Texan sticks with the types of styles that brought him to the top - traditional country ("Let It Go," "Goin' Goin' Gone"), Texas swing ("It Takes All Kinds") and Zydeco ...
CD review - The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium George Strait has been one of the most dependable country music stars for three decades. In this day and age, the Texan is a certifiable throwback. He's low key, not a self-promoter. All's he has done is churn out hit after hit for decade after decade. He has not been the kind of artist who put his finger up in the air either or trading his cowboy hat for a baseball cap. When looking up the definition of traditional country, George Strait sits at the top. Strait tackles 20 songs on ...

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
AboutCopyrightNewsletterOur sister publication Standard Time
Subscribe to Country Music News Country News   Subscribe to Country Music CD Reviews CD Reviews   Follow us on Twitter  Instagram  Facebook  YouTube