Len Holsclaw passes

Len Holsclaw, best known for being the manager of the Country Gentlemen from 1971 to 1998, passed away on February 19, 2024, at the Blue Ridge Christian Home in Bealeton, Virginia, after a long battle with dementia. He was 90 years old.

He was the founder/owner of the Lendel Agency, Lendel Records, and Fauquier Music Publishing as well.

Lendel H. Holsclaw was born on November 2, 1933, in Staunton, Virginia. Until his father’s passing in August 1942, he travelled across the United States for his father’s occupation as a steel erector. He and his mother returned to live in Bealeton and later moved to Manassas where he graduated from Manassas High School.

Holsclaw was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and served in Paris, France as a military policeman. Returning home from Paris, he joined the Arlington County Police Department as a detective. He moved through the ranks and retired in 1982 as the Deputy Chief of Police.

He had a longtime love of music and played the upright bass with local bluegrass and country music bands each weekend. This led him to a second career and in 1971, he became the sole management and booking agent for the Country Gentlemen. This association lasted for a little less than 30 years.

Holsclaw wrote the liner notes for The Award Winning Country Gentlemen LP and produced Return Engagement and Souvenirs (all released by Rebel Records). 

He was involved with if not the driving force behind the glossy 72-page booklet, Country Gentlemen 25th Anniversary 1957 to 1982, published circa 1982.

Holsclaw was also among the group that met in June 1985 to establish the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Later in life he was the executive-producer and/or producer of three Randy Waller albums (Lendel Records). 

Tom Gray commented … 

“He can be credited with creating the Seldom Scene. Like me and Gary Henderson, Len frequently played bass at the jams in the Ben Eldridge basement circa 1970-71. Upon hearing John Starling sing, Len thought his dear friend John Duffey might enjoy singing with Starling, so Len invited Duffey to the next jam. John Duffey had left the Country Gentlemen in 1969, and others had tried to hire him (including Flatt and Scruggs). Indeed, Duffey did enjoy the jam, and said he’s now interested in starting a new band with the jammers. I got a call from Mike Auldridge asking if I’d like to join this new band. He said they should first offer the bassist job to Len, since he was credited with bringing Duffey and Starling together. But, since Len has a full-time job as a policeman in Arlington, he’d likely pass on the opportunity. So, I got the gig, and Len Holsclaw was our first supporter.”

Holsclaw spent many weekends traveling to bluegrass festivals and attending concerts.  

As well as being a member of the IBMA, he became a member of the Academy of Country Music and The Country Music Association. 

The family will receive friends on Sunday, February 25 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Moser Funeral Home on Broadview Avenue in Warrenton, Virginia, where funeral services will be held on Monday, February 26 at 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Memory Gardens on Rixeyville Road in Jeffersonton, Virginia.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

R.I.P.  Len Holsclaw. 

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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.