Paramedics took Key to Tri-City Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, where was unresponsive upon arrival due head trauma. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Ross is well known in Wilson County, Nashville and beyond for his staunch support of traditional country and held several shows each year in Lebanon, which drew performers from around the world. Best known for his annual Spring Fling festival, a 12-hour music festival, featuring stars such as Ron Williams, Allen Karl, Bobby Lewis, Bobby G. Rice and many more, the festival won its first international award in 2013 for “Best Country Music Festival” from the Independent Country Music Association.
Key went on to earn two commendations from the state and Gov. Bill Haslam for his support of veterans and one for his contributions to traditional country music, both awarded in 2015. Ross held a Virginia State Dobro Championship and recently won an international Fan’s Choice award in 2016 for “Best Country Music Band” in the United Kingdom.
“He was an advocate for the traditional country music sound in Nashville. He and his wife, Brenda, were front and center to volunteer time and talent for so many charitable events, as well as continuously advocating for traditional country music,” said Sebrina Horstmeyer. “He was a refreshing traditional sound in his own right through his original songs, many awesome events showcasing traditional country music talent and was a treasured friend to all who knew him.”
Key was the CEO and founder of the Traditional Country Network, which supported and promoted the traditional country music genre, assisting songwriters and singers of traditional country music.
“Ross wasn't the kind of guy who said, ‘if you need anything let me know,’ and then when you needed something, find an excuse not to lend you a hand. He was one of the few who has proven his actions and words were the same – at least to me,” said Clint Burgess.
Ross leaves behind his wife, Brenda, of Nashville; his mother, Myra Key, of Punta Gorda, Fla.; a brother, Edward G. Key, of Smith Mountain Lake, Va.; and a son, David Garland Key, of Madison Heights, Va.
He was preceded in death by his father, Edward Garland Key; and a brother, Steven D. Key.
A GoFundMe memorial account was established at gofundme.com/6wpx9-ross-key-memorial-fund.