|Born||Gerald D. Murray|
December 26, 1948
Talent Manager, Talent Agent
|🏢 Organization||Gerald Murray Music, LLC|
|🏡 Home town||Muscle Shoals, Alabama|
Gerald D. Murray (born December 26, 1948) is an American talent manager, music talent agent, and author. Murray is best known as the personal talent manager of country music artists, George Jones, Vern Gosdin, and Doug Stone. His management of Jones, Gosdin, and Stone defines the role of talent management, covering many aspects of their lives, and is acknowledged as an integral part of their successful careers.
Life and education
Gerald D. Murray was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was raised in Alabama. He graduated from Russellville High School in Russellville, Alabama, where he played on the Russellville Golden Tigers football team that won three state Championships between 1965 and 1968.
Murray began college education in 1989, graduating 1993 at the University of North Alabama with a degree in business and a 3.73 grade point average. He continued academic studies at the University of North Alabama, graduating 1996 with a Master's Degree in business and 3.78 grade point average.
He attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1997 to 2000, with studies focused upon statistics and marketing. He graduated from Nova as a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). He finished in the top 5% of his class with a 3.78 grade point average. Due to his high scores and record upon graduation, he was made a lifetime member of Sigma Beta Delta National Honor Society for scholastic achievement, as well as made a lifetime member of the Alabama Academy of Science.
Murray's career in the music business began in 1978 at Murray's Levi's Exclusive Denim shop, "The Rigger," in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Joe Hamilton and Leon Sherrill, who were members of country music star Hank Williams Jr's band, as well as session musicians at Rick Hall's historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, came into Murray's store to purchase blue jeans for Williams. Murray asked if he could go with them to deliver the jeans to Williams. Hamilton, Sherrill and Murray loaded a few items in the car, and then drove to Cullman, Alabama, where Murray met Hank Williams Jr. That same night, Williams gave Murray the 1952 baby blue Cadillac that his father, Hank Williams Sr. passed away in on January 1, 1953, at age 29. Murray kept the car in a garage for three years, ultimately placing the car in The Hank Williams Museum in Nashville, upon receiving Hank Jr.'s approval to do so. From that first meeting and there forward, Williams and Murray became close friends.
Murray began to travel with Williams on concert tours, and became associated with Williams' manager, Mr. James R. Smith. Murray acquired his early knowledge about the music industry and artist management from Smith. In 1979, Smith made an offer to sign Williams' management over to Murray, at which point Murray started up his own music company. Shortly before Murray took the reins of Williams' personal artist management, Williams had a Top 10 hit in May 1979 with the song, "Family Tradition," on Elektra Records/Curb Records. After the success of Williams' career path setting smash hit among other reasons, Smith decided to continue forward managing Williams.
Smith later contacted Murray with regard to managing the late country music artist, George Jones. Jones had approached Smith about his career management, but advised Jones to contact Murray. By Smith's recommendation, Murray began his foray into the music industry by signing agreements with Jones for personal artist management, fan club administration, conducting the business affairs of George Jones Enterprises, and to design and create all of the concession items that were sold to Jones' fans. At the time of the signing, Jones had a Number 1 hit song, "He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  Murray conducted Jones' personal management, concert concessions, and the business affairs of George Jones Enterprises.
While riding high on the success of radio airplay, sellout concerts, awards and record sales, Jones and Murray each received a prestigious Gold Record plaque from CBS Records and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the George Jones album, I Am What I Am. The plaques were presented in recognition of their contributions to the album and for sales in excess of 500,000 copies. CBS Records executives at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada, awarded the plaques to Jones and Murray separately on stage.
During Murray's first year as Jones' personal talent manager, Jones won two Country Music Association (CMA) awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year for "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Jones also received two Music City News Awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year for "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Jones earned the 1980 GRAMMY Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, for "He Stopped Loving Her Today." The momentum Jones and Murray had going seemed unstoppable.
Unfortunately however, during this very successful career phase, it is public knowledge that Jones became affected by alcohol and drug problems. Those issues led to Jones disregarding his contractual obligations by not showing up for interviews, television and concert appearances. By Jones' continual personal troubles, and a lack of concern for his own career that made it impossible to fulfill his commitments, Murray decided to cease management of Jones in 1982.
Murray took some time off from the music business after his departure from Jones to enter the ring of professional kickboxing, and to attend college where he earned a Master's Degree and Doctor of Business Administration. Upon completion of college in the year 2000, Murray teamed with veteran country music artist, Vern Gosdin, that same year. To define the connection between Gosdin and Murray, in the early days of Murray's 1980's management of George Jones, one of his first decisions with regard to concert touring was to hire an opening music act for the George Jones shows. Murray considered several country music artists, eventually contacting Gosdin about filling the slot, because Murray thought Jones and Gosdin would be a great combination of country music talent for presentation to concert audiences. Gosdin accepted the opportunity, and was contractually signed by Murray to perform on the George Jones concert tours.
By becoming Gosdin's personal talent manager and financial manager, Murray returned to the national spotlight. For nine years, Murray took Gosdin's country music show from coast to coast, sometimes performing two shows per day, as well as Gosdin making television appearances and multiple performances on the revered Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee. Gosdin topped the country music charts with a string of Number 1 and Top 10 hits including, "If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right)," "Do You Believe Me Now," "Set 'Em Up Joe,” "Is It Raining at Your House,” and "Chiseled in Stone." In 2005, Gosdin and Murray attended the Alabama Music Hall of Fame ceremony, where Gosdin had the honor of becoming an inductee.
During the seventh year of managing Gosdin, and two years prior to Gosdin's death, Murray authored a book about him titled, True Life Stories About 'The Voice', Vern Gosdin. Gosdin and Murray had built a solid music business relationship together, and after years of inseparable friendship, they considered their personal relationship as one of family. With the presumption that Gosdin's fans and country music fans alike might enjoy having some insight into Gosdin's life and career, Murray decided to write about his personal memories and recollections of time spent with Gosdin as friends, and stories of traveling the country together on Gosdin's concert tours. Before Murray published the book, Gosdin and Murray agreed upon dedicating the book to George Jones and to include stories about shared experiences with him, because Jones was not only a great friend to both of them, their work with Jones was a catalyst for both of their careers. In 2007, Murray received a 'Country Publication of the Year' award from The Alabama Country & Gospel Music Association, presented to Murray by Jo Anne Johnson, then president of ACGMA.
Known as "The Voice," Gosdin was considered country music royalty among his fans and peers, and was one of the most influential artists and voices in the history of country music. Murray was a part of Vern Gosdin's life for thirty years and referred to Gosdin as a father, brother and a friend.
After the death of Gosdin, Murray took a break from artist management. However, in April 2012 he resumed the role as a personal artist manager after being approached by country music superstar, Doug Stone. Stone and Murray first met at a Vern Gosdin show in Louisiana, where the two briefly discussed the future possibility of Stone's management. With Stone now bringing his career management to the table, Murray was somewhat hesitant to take the job due to the public awareness of Stone having a past history with alcohol problems. This posed an initial concern to Murray after the many related issues he experienced while managing George Jones, and he did not want to enter into a similar scenario as with Jones. Stone convinced Murray that he had his life in order. After serious consideration, Murray determined that taking over Stone's personal artist management would be a good decision. Especially with Stone's notoriety, history as a multi-platinum selling recording artist, and background as a film actor.
From the onset of their business relationship and there forward, Murray's guidance of Stone's career direction has resulted in positive outcomes for concert tours, to being a conduit to Stone landing a part as an actor in a pilot film, "When The Storm God Rides," as well as providing Stone with various television interview appearance opportunities, and a live performance on the RFD-TV series, "The Joey Canyon Show." Stone and Murray worked together professionally for seven years.
Gerald Murray has been professionally involved in the country music business at many levels: from merchandise promoter, to business agent, and has had the opportunity to be the personal artist manager for other country music and gospel music recording artists, and celebrities over his continuing career. Stella Parton, Ashton Shepherd, Paulette Carlson, Zac Hacker, are some.
Professional music affiliations
|Country Music Association|
|Academy of Country Music|
|National Association of Talent Directors (NADT) website|
|International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) website|
- Alabama High School Football Historical Society, "Russellville Golden Tigers", Russellville High School, Retrieved March 20, 2018
- Alabama Academy of Science, "The Online Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science", Membership List, Retrieved March 20, 2018
- Carter, Walter. "Manager Calls It Quits With George Jones", The Tennessean, p. 23, column 13, Nashville, Tennessee, 29 April 1982, Retrieved March 27, 2018
- Gerald Murray Interview, "Former manager recalls days with George Jones in Muscle Shoals", WAFF-TV, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 2013, Retrieved March 22, 2018
- News Article. "George Jones fails to show for concert", The Anniston Star - (Associated Press), Birmingham, Alabama, p. 22b, column 4, 02 May 1982, Gerald Murray manager, Retrieved 25 March 2018
- Carter, Walter. "Manager Calls It Quits With George Jones", The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, p. 29, column 11, 29 April 1982, Retrieved 25 March 2018
- Gerald Murray. "Presented by Gerald Murray Music, Vern Gosdin", Montgomery Advertiser, p. 8G, column 6, Montgomery, Alabama, 20 March 2005, Retrieved 29 March 2018
- Google Books, "True Life Stories About 'The Voice', VERN GOSDIN By Gerald Murray", ISBN-13: 9781427623102, Retrieved March 11, 2018
- Adkins, Scott, "Vern Gosdin", The Original Gene Watson Fan Site, Adkins Publicity, 2006, Retrieved March 19, 2018
- Okarmus, Matt. "Country singer Doug Stone to perform in Opelika", Montgomery Advertiser, 05 February 5, 2015, Retrieved March 17, 2018
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