Jim Halsey reflects on his long career as a music impresario

by Brandy McDonnell Modified: May 2, 2013 at 12:04 am •  Published: May 3, 2013
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He subsequently discovered Wanda Jackson and Roy Clark. His roster eventually grew to 40 or 50 stars; at its height, the Jim Halsey Company was the largest country music agency in the world. He sold his booking agency to William Morris Agency in 1990 and shifted his focus to educating people on how to make it in the music business.

The “Starmaker” exhibit, which shares the title of his 2010 book, features an array of photos, posters and memorabilia from the veritable galaxy of country music stars Halsey has worked with in his more than six-decade career.

Stars on the gallery floor are emblazoned with famous names like Minnie Pearl, Mel Tillis, Waylon Jennings, Ronnie Milsap and others he has represented, advised or influenced. The exhibit is packed with gold records from Reba McEntire, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam, a Roy Clark banjo, one of Jana Jae's signature blue fiddles, and pink guitars from Jody Miller and Wanda Jackson.

Also showcased are lavishly adorned performance suits Nudie Cohn designed for Thompson and Cohn's son-in-law Manuel Cuevas devised for Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys.

Dreamer's life

Several prized keepsakes come from his 1976 and 1988 tours of the Soviet Union with Roy Clark and the Oak Ridge Boys, the two artists he continues to represent.

“Nobody had been behind the Iron Curtain with country music — and we were the first. And we knocked the doors down,” he said.

He also booked his country artists for shows in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America and expanded the format's reach stateside into then-unlikely venues including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall.

“I'm a dreamer. I'm a visionary. I'm one of those people that has an undeniable, unrelenting quest for something in the future and something new. And to me, to this day, nothing is impossible,” Halsey said.

“I still follow my dreams today.”


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more...
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