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Kay Clary to Be Honored at 7th Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum

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Kay ClaryNashville, TN -- To honor the memory of a Bluegrass Hall of Fame icon, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will present an interview with music industry veteran Kay Clary at the seventh annual Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 6 p.m. in the Ford Theater. A reception will follow the program.

The program is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. Reservations can be made by emailing rsvp@countrymusichalloffame.org or calling 615-416-2040.
Made possible by the Gibson Foundation, the forum was established in 2007 to explore issues related to the business side of the music industry and to recognize annually an individual who represents the legacy of pioneering agent-manager Louise Scruggs, the adoring wife and savvy business partner of Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs.

Previous honorees are Denise Stiff, Liz Thiels, Mary Martin, Bonnie Garner, Sarah Trahern and Nancy Shapiro.

Museum Editor Michael Gray will host the forum interview with Clary. As he tracks the history of her career, Gray will invite Clary to share memories of working for a fledgling record label, helping establish Nashville’s Americana and alternative-rock music scenes; holding various industry roles; and meeting opportunities and challenges along the way. The interview will be enhanced by video clips and vintage photos from the museum's archives, Clary’s personal collection and other sources.

Kay Clary

Since arriving in Nashville, Clary has been an advocate for the city’s punk, rock & roll, country and Americana artists. In both entrepreneurial and corporate atmospheres, she has championed artists and songwriters and earned her reputation as a business professional who has achieved success without sacrificing integrity.

In 1980, Clary moved from Wisconsin to Nashville to pursue a music business degree at Belmont. She soon met Jack Emerson who had recently started his own record label, Praxis International. Eager to enhance her music business education with practical experience, Clary volunteered to help with distribution and sales, tour press, accounting and directing publicity for the independent label and its flagship act—Jason and the Scorchers. By 1985, Clary had been promoted to a full-fledged partner with Emerson and Andy McLenon.

Through the band’s edgy sound and the efforts of the Praxis staff, Jason and the Scorchers tuned the world into Nashville’s rock scene in the 1980s. Their album Fervor earned the band a record deal with EMI. During this time, Praxis International shifted focus from recording to artist management and development. They helped the careers of John Hiatt, Webb Wilder and the Georgia Satellites, whose debut single, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” was a Top Five hit in 1986. The company became the Southeast A&R branch for A&M Records and Zoo Entertainment/BMG and later played a significant role in Billy Joe Shaver’s comeback with the album Tramp on Your Street.

After the Praxis International partnership dissolved, Clary worked for various publicity companies directing media campaigns and tour marketing. In 2002, Clary opened her own boutique firm, Commotion PR. She handled record launches and tours for acts such as Rodney Crowell, Jack Ingram, Del McCoury, Billy Joe Shaver, Marty Stuart and Sony/BMG’s Legacy Recordings.

In 2005, Clary closed her firm and joined the communications staff at BMI. She swiftly rose to Executive Director of Media Relations & Corporate Communications. She developed and executed major PR campaigns for the company and its songwriters. Those initiatives included the BMI Country Awards, #1 parties, writer showcases and a presence at festivals such as South by Southwest and Bonnaroo.

In November 2012, Clary stepped down from her post at BMI. She is a board member for the Belcourt Theatre and served on the board of the American Music Association and the Nashville Film Festival. Clary is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Music.

Louise Scruggs

Setting new professional standards in artist management, Louise Certain Scruggs played a key role in bringing the music of Flatt & Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue to audiences well beyond the traditional country norm—a role she relished until her death in 2006.

A doting wife and mother accomplished in the domestic arts, and a culturally literate accountant who was nobody's fool, Scruggs was known for her knowledge of music and music trends, and better known for the formidable business acumen that helped her open or close doors in the best interests of her husband and sons. Protective, stern and confident as a business woman, she loved music as a life force central to her being and her humanity. On September 30, 2010, Louise Scruggs was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

“In the seventh Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum, we are proud to recognize Kay Clary for her media and artist management expertise and her pioneering spirit.” said Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. “She is a Nashville tastemaker and a powerful advocate for authentic artists.”

Founded in 2002 as the philanthropic division of Gibson Guitar, the Gibson Foundation is committed to making the world a better place for children worldwide through its own initiatives and by its support of other non-profit organizations that advance music and the arts, health and welfare, education and environmental causes. For more information, please visit www.gibsonfoundation.org or www.gibson.com.

These programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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