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Looking for a final place to hang their hats

November 07, 2003|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Marty Martel never had a gold record, but he's been in the country music business for 30 years, first as a singer and later as the owner of a small production and talent agency.

Now 64 and near the end of his career, Martel wants a little peace of mind.

He wants to see a long-discussed retirement home built for people in country music, a place where singers, producers, musicians and others can go, no matter how little money they have.

After 10 years of stops and starts, the project is gaining traction. A task force appointed by the Country Music Assn. and the Reunion of Professional Entertainers is searching for land. Organizers have collected seed money. And some high-profile executives and entertainers have gotten behind it, including association President Ed Benson and singer Martina McBride.

Still, Benson said that until ground is broken and sketches drawn, raising the millions it will take to build the home is a hard sell. The timing is less than ideal, with music sales in a slump.

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