NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Jeff Walker, founder of one of Nashville's first independent publicity firms and a key figure in the development of country music internationally, died suddenly on Monday at the age of 65.
Originally hailing from Australia, Mr. Walker came to the U.S. in 1974 and found work as a Certified Public Accountant in Nashville, but soon joined Con Brio Records and Publishing, a company operated by his father, the legendary producer Bill Walker.
In 1980, Mr. Walker launched AristoMedia Group, handling publicity, marketing and video and radio promotions for country and Christian music and playing a role in the careers of music giants as Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Shania Twain, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Charlie Daniels and Jo Dee Messina.
In a biography on the AristoMedia website, Mr. Walker discussed his approach to music marketing and publicity.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Mr. Walker said. “As long as we remember that content is king and continue to provide professional niche market media services, the future looks bright.”
Mr. Walker served on the board of directors for the Country Radio Seminar, one of the leading industry confabs for radio programmers and promoters. As well, he served on He has served on the boards of the Academy of Country Music, The Canadian Country Music Association, Leadership Music, NARAS (The Recording Academy) and the Nashville Film Festival, where he served as President in 2004-05 and in leadership positions on the boards of the Country Music Association and the Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.
In a post on AristoMedia's website, a spokesperson for the company wrote:
"He was an inspiration to us all and left a tremendous impact on everyone he met with his sharp business sense and quick wit. Jeff was a “glass half-full kind of guy,” and was well known and beloved in the Nashville music industry for his humor, his boundless energy and his tireless devotion to expanding the reach of Country Music. He was a servant-leader, and pushed everyone he worked with to constantly question the status quo and to bring new ideas to the table to remain competitive in this incredibly volatile industry."
Jeff is survived by his father and stepmother, Bill and Jeanine Walker, his wife, Terri, his son Jonathan and his wife Tessa, and his daughter Christy Walker-Watkins and her husband Matt Watkins. He had two granddaughters, Elle and Lucy.
The funeral service will take place on Friday from noon until 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Nashville, 108 7th Ave. South with a subsequent private interment. – Staff Writers