In front Reba McEntire married Narvel Blackstock, She made him part of her music team. First he was in her band. Then he led her band. And eventually he became the manager of her career. Believe it or not, most of it was thanks to her first husband.
What events led to Blackstock’s eventual rise to music manager for a superstar like McEntire? And what did Charlie Battles have to do with it?
Charlie Battles co-managed Reba McEntire’s career before Narvel became Blackstock’s manager
Battles helped oversee McEntire’s music career throughout their marriage. But he often ignored his wife’s feelings or her allergies He booked shows. They were frustrated with each other in different ways.
Around 1980 Blackstock appeared as a steel guitarist. But eventually he turned to Battles and told him the band needed a leader.
“Well if you think we need one and you want to be one, then you are,” Battles explained, as McEntire wrote Reba: My story. Eventually, he also assumed tour manager duties, essentially co-managing with Battles.
Blackstock told McEntire’s books collaborator, Tom Carter, that the couple had conflicting ideas about where their careers should go. Battles seemed to think McEntire had already peaked and she was about to relax. She thought she was just getting started, and Blackstock agreed.
McEntire announced that she was not involved in the decision to promote Blackstock to band leader or tour manager. But she finally decided it was time to send Battles home and let Blackstock run her career.
Reba McEntire “relieved” Charlie Battles of his managerial duties and made Narvel Blackstock her manager
Over the years, McEntire’s marriage to Battles grew cold and strained, as she details in her book. She eventually decided to “relieve” Battles of his co-management duties, telling him she “pretty much wanted” him out of her career. Battles called Blackstock and told him McEntire was “going through a little thing.”
“She’ll get over it in a moment,” he told him, “and I’ll be right back in.”
The “Take It Back” singer concluded, “Charlie just didn’t get it.”
Soon afterwards, She filed for divorce and ended up wanting a fresh start from another manager, so she turned to Blackstock. “With Narvel by my side, I could really start taking charge of my career,” she shared.
Narvel Blackstock sold insurance before becoming manager of Reba McEntire
Remarkably, Blackstock was an insurance agent before joining McEntire’s band. He had musical know-how, so he initially joined the crew as a steel guitarist. He worked his way up through the organization until he was in charge.
When Blackstock was McEntire’s employee, she said she didn’t think the two had a romantic connection. More specifically, she said he thought she was a “country bumpkin and a hillbilly.”
But after they each divorced their first spouses, they formed a bond that led to a 26-year marriage before their 2015 split. Blackstock has three children from his first marriage, including Brandon Blackstockand he and McEntire had a son, Shelby Blackstock.
Notably, McEntire took over management of her career after her divorce, per billboard.
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/narvel-blackstock-ended-managing-reba-mcentires-career.html/ How Narvel Blackstock was appointed Reba McEntire’s music manager