Music agent was head of Nashville office

Ron Baird, former head of CAA’s Nashville office, died in Nashville on Feb. 3 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 60.

Baird joined the agency in 1991 and helped start up its Nashville office shortly thereafter. The office began as a one man operation out of his garage and grew until it had a staff of 55.

Over the course of his 13 years at CAA, Baird represented such country talents as Clint Black, Billy Dean, Jennifer Hanson, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Barbara Mandrell, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Joe Nichols, Olivia Newton John and Jamie O’Neal before retiring in 2004.

One of his first big signings was Shania Twain before her big break; Baird helped drive her career to where it is today.

“Ron was an extraordinary man whose dedication to and passion for his clients and colleagues alike have long inspired us. He had great love of music, a heart of gold and a generous spirit, and it is those qualities that will be the legacy of this wonderful soul,” Rob Light, managing partner and head of the music department at CAA, said in a statement.

A graduate of the U. of Montana, Baird first started off as a musician before segueing into representation, starting off at Good Music Agency.

Baird moved on to the Jim Halsey Co. in 1977 where signed acts including the Judds, Don Williams and Tammy Wynette. He eventually became senior VP and general sales manager.

Besides his work as an agent, Baird also served as prexy of the Country Music Assn. in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003.

He is survived by his wife Cheryl and two sons.

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