Erv Woolsey, Longtime Manager Of George Strait, Dies At 80

Photo credit: Erv Woolsey Co

Erv Woolsey, a highly respected veteran music manager known for his work with artists such as George Strait, has passed away at the age of 80.

First reported by Music Row, Woolsey died this morning in Clearwater, Florida, due to complications arising from surgery, marking the end of a remarkable career spanning several decades. Woolsey’s significant influence as an iconic artist manager and industry trailblazer has made a lasting impact on the country music scene.

George Strait, who was influenced and guided by Woolsey for nearly 50 years, expressed his deep sadness in a heartfelt statement. He highlighted Woolsey’s role not only as a manager but also as a cherished friend, emphasizing their shared memories and accomplishments.

“My manager for around 45 years and most importantly my friend for even longer, Erv Woolsey, passed away this morning,” Strait said. “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.”


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About Erv Woolsey’s Career

Erv Woolsey left a permanent mark on country music as both a manager and entrepreneur. His journey began after graduating from Southwest Texas State University, landing a job in the Promotion department at Decca Records. Over time, he transitioned through various labels until settling in Nashville in 1973, where he became Head of Promotions for ABC Records’ new country division.

In the 1980s, Woolsey played a crucial role at MCA, helping artists like Barbara Mandrell, Don Williams, and Conway Twitty find success on the radio. A notable achievement was persuading MCA to sign George Strait in 1981, kickstarting Strait’s career.

Woolsey’s management of George Strait throughout the years propelled him to iconic status in country music— but his influence went beyond just Strait. He also worked with artists such as Lee Ann Womack, Dierks Bentley, Clay Walker, Ronnie Milsap, and many more.

Aside from his music ventures, Woolsey was a savvy businessman. He developed a string of clubs and bars, notably opening The Trap and the popular hangout, Losers, in Nashville. The success of Losers led to the opening of Winners next door, along with the Dawg House, further cementing Woolsey’s impact on the city’s entertainment scene.

Woolsey was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Country Music Association and the Tennessee Museum of History. He is survived by his son Clint, ex-wife Connie, brother David, and sister Beth. Preceding him in death were his parents, John and Mavis Woolsey, and brother Johnny Woolsey.

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