Keith Case passes

Keith Case, former head of one of the most influential talent agencies managing roots and bluegrass music artists for the past 30 plus years, passed away on September 3, 2019. He was 79 years old. 

Born on August 9, 1940, Case started his career as a booking agent in Denver, and in 1982 re-located to Nashville, where two years later he formed his own company.

His firm, Keith Case & Associates, was arguably the most important booker of acoustic-music artists in the history of Music Row. He was a key figure in developing the career of Alison Krauss & Union Station.

As a talent agent, manager, and/or promoter he has at various times represented Ralph Stanley, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Peter Rowan, Hot Rize, Pete Wernick, Tim & Mollie O’Brien, The Seldom Scene, New Grass Revival, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Rhonda Vincent, Ronnie Bowman, The Del McCoury Band, The Steeldrivers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Tony Rice, Blue Highway, King Wilkie, Dan Tyminski, and The Farewell Drifters, among many other bluegrass acts. 

Other acoustic music/Americana/country music acts that Case worked with include Suzy Bogguss, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, John Hartford, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mary Gauthier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jesse Winchester, Gillian Welch, Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen, Matraca Berg, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jeannie Kendall, and Elizabeth Cook. 

Gospel music legends The Fairfield Four were among his clients also. 

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.

Case was a founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), as well as an important figure in the Folk Alliance organization. 

During more than 30 years in the music business, Keith Case became widely known for representing artists of exceptional quality and doing so with integrity and professionalism. 

Case had a long-standing reputation as a passionate, dedicated advocate of bluegrass and roots music, helping to pave the way for the best artists in these genres to move towards mainstream popularity.

His importance extended beyond his regular business dealings, including mentoring Denise Stiff, the long-time manager of Krauss, Dan Tyminski, and Sarah Jarosz.

Keith Case & Associates were known as KCA for many years. However, it was not until in 2011, when Case retired, that the brand was changed to KCA Artists.  

More recently, he assisted in the transfer of his business operations to The Cumberland Music Collective, the agency run by Case’s former vice president Lee Olsen.

Olsen shared these thoughts …

“Keith and I were in business together for over 25 years. In that time at KCA Artists, under his guidance, my understanding of the agency business increased dramatically. He helped me both professionally and personally, and I was proud of what we were able to accomplish together. His loss for the music industry and all the artists he represented over the many years is irreplaceable and he will be missed by all who knew him…”

R.I.P., Keith Case 

Funeral arrangements are unknown at this time. 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.