Don Maddox

Born:  Dec. 7, 1922, Boaz, AL

Country Vocals, Fiddle Maddox Brothers & Rose

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

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Ashland fiddler and Western Swing Hall of Famer Don Maddox plays in his home Friday. Maddox is the recipient of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners’ first Chairman’s Award for a lifetime of achievement by a member of the community. Julia Moore / Daily Tidings--Julia Moore


Posted: 2:00 AM February 09, 2011


Don Maddox never makes a point of trying to attract attention, but he doesn't mind when it comes his way.

The 88-year-old fiddle player enjoyed enormous popularity in the 1940s and '50s country music scene with Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose, dubbed "America's Most Colorful Hillbilly Band." And after spending his last 52 years living quietly on his ranch near Ashland, he was awarded the first Chairman's Award from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

"I really feel honored," said Maddox, who received the award Feb. 1 during a banquet at the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium in Medford. The award is for a lifetime of achievement by a member of the community and will be given annually, Commissioner C.W. Smith said.

"Since my brothers and sister are all gone now, I'm getting all of the reflection from the Maddox Brothers & Rose," said Maddox. "I don't think I deserve it, though."

Maddox, along with his brothers Fred, Cal, Cliff and Henry and their little sister Rose, filled out the lineup for the Maddox Brothers and Rose. The band is widely credited with laying the foundation for rockabilly music. Some music historians believe that the first note of rock 'n' roll may have been played on Fred Maddox's upright bass guitar, which is on display at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Wash.

Don Juan Maddox was his official stage name, but Kenneth is the name his mother gave him, Maddox said. Maddox doesn't remember where he picked up his first fiddle, or exactly what happened to it. His brother Fred, after returning from World War II in 1945, loaned him a fiddle, which is the one he really learned to play on, he said. Don and brother Cal served in the war as well.

"I was drafted in '41 to India and Burma, but the war was just about over when I got there, so I didn't get any of the good fighting," Maddox said.

His brothers were both in the Japanese theater, he said. "I think they were in the fighting down there."

Cal, Fred and Rose started playing music together in 1935. The group, known then as the Alabama Outlaws, played rodeos and barrooms for tips.

"They were making more money doing that than they could make picking fruit," Maddox said.

The Maddox family left a livelihood of sharecropping in Boaz, Ala., in 1933, and migrated to California looking for work during the Great Depression. Maddox said before the family left Alabama, "they had a yard sale and sold all of our worldly goods, and they only got $35."

The band wrote the song "$35 and a Dream," and it is still one of Maddox's favorite songs to sing and play on his fiddle.

Picking peaches in Modesto was the first stable work the family could find in California, Maddox said. They tried gold mining, but gave up after finding only a few specks while panning in the nearly abandoned logging town of Tuolumne City for two weeks.

"When we got to California, we found out that all of the gold in California was in the bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else's name," Maddox said. "We were from hand-to-mouth. Anything I could get I would eat. We still had to beg for food."

In 1939 the Alabama Outlaws won a hillbilly band competition at the California State Fair in Sacramento and with it, a deal to play live on the KFBK radio station there, said Maddox. The Maddox brothers built up a following around Central and Northern California before the war began, and when they reformed as Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose in 1945, their popularity kept spreading.

"We put up a heck of a front," Maddox recalls. "All of us drove a Cadillac, and we had these fancy uniforms that we had made for us.

"But people didn't know our Cadillacs weren't paid for."

The Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose called it quits in 1958. Rose Maddox started a solo career, and the rest of the band sat in Hollywood without work, said Maddox.

"We had kind of reached a plateau. "… I didn't know what I was going to do," said Maddox. "All the money was going out and none coming in."

That same year Maddox decided to enroll in a small agricultural college in the San Fernando Valley, and learn what he could about the only other livelihood he knew: farming and ranching.

"I had wanted to be a cowboy all my life," he said. "Riding the range, with the roundups, and the rodeo cowboys; stuff like that."

After graduating from college in less than a year, Maddox purchased 300 acres of irrigated farmland east of Ashland for $28,500. Maddox didn't start playing publicly again until 2007, though he was inducted in the Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2005.

Maddox remarried on Dec. 4, 2010, to Barbara Harvey, 69, who grew up in the Rogue Valley and owned a ranch off East Antelope Road. Maddox was married for 51 years to his first wife, Nila Maddox, who died in 2002 from heart failure. Barbara and Don met through a mutual friend, and hit it off from the beginning, Barbara said.

"We're in love," she said. "... Naturally we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, but we get along pretty well."

"She keeps me pretty busy," Don said. "She wants me to do another record, and I think it would be fun."

Barbara travels with Don to his weekly jams with the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers.

"He deserves this award," she said, pointing toward the commissioners' plaque propped up on the couple's kitchen table.

Smith chose Maddox for the lifetime achievement award because of the "legendary" piece of musical history he's contributed and because he is a "treasure" to the community, Smith said.

"I just thought, 'Here's a guy who has spent most of his life working hard, and he lives in our valley and needs to be recognized,'" Smith said. "He still plays with the Old Time Fiddlers every week, still sings, and is now getting a great deal of interest from a lot of young people, with the rockabilly music they use to play."

Maddox said he doesn't know whether the Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose are country music legends, but people like to tell him they are.

"And I kind of like that," he said.

Sam Wheeler works for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Source: Fiddling into history |


Rockabilly Legend Honored at Commissioners Meeting on 2/1/2011

K.C. "Don" Maddox, the last surviving member of the legendary rockabilly band The Maddox Brothers and Rose, will be presented with the first annual Jackson County Commissioners' "Chairman's Award" on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 2:30 p.m. The award, which is for lifetime achievements by a local member of the community, takes place at the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose were inducted into the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and Rose Maddox became the first female artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

Joining 88-year-old Don Maddox at Tuesday's ceremony will be members of the Old Time Fiddlers, of which he is a member. If possible, the group will play music with Maddox during the ceremony.

Don Maddox and his brothers Cliff, Henry and Cal, and sister Rose, were known as "America's Most Colorful Hillbilly Band" and were wildly popular in country music in the 1940s and '50s. During the Great Depression, the Maddox family migrated from Alabama to California and took jobs as fruit pickers. Soon after, the Maddox siblings started performing on the radio and gained immense popularity during the 1930s.

Their act included Western costumes, comedy, and singing, and they were regulars on the Louisiana Hayride, played concerts and also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. The Maddox's songs ranged from the country standards, cowboy songs, western swing, folk, jazz, boogie woogie and early rock and roll.

The group disbanded in 1956. Don became a cattle rancher in Southern Oregon until he retired a few years ago. He has played with local bands, including the Old Time Fiddlers, at Southern Oregon venues. He released his first CD, "High Desert Waltz," last year.

For more information, please contact: Dennis C.W. Smith, Jackson County Commissioner, at (541) 774-6119, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Source: Jackson County Oregon - Rockabilly Legend Honored at Commissioners Meeting on 2/1/2011

More info: Tidings Café: Don Maddox and the Step It Up and Go Band |

Maddox Brothers and Rose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Former E. P. resident weds western music legend.

Monday, 13 December 2010 14:25

Barbara and Don Maddox

On December 4, three days before his 88th birthday, at Roxy Ann Grange in Medford, Don Maddox wed Eagle Point’s Barbara Harvey.

In decades past, this last surviving member of the famed  Maddox musical family, performed at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, epitomizing success in his genre. Five years ago he was inducted into the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame. He retains a  polished expertise at infusing a fiddle bow with life, to produce lilts and sound effects that amaze audiences. His harmony, voice quality, sense of rhythm, musical pitch, versatility, stage presence, and sheer star quality provoke envy in performers half his age. He still makes night club appearances,  and  C..D’s  that his fans want autographed..

Both widowed for several years, Don and Barbara met twenty-four months ago through a mutual friend. “Then around last spring,” Barbara said, “Don ordered a ring. One day, he slipped it on my finger, and asked, ‘Will you be my wife?’”

For their wedding venue, they chose the December jam of the Old Time Fiddlers Association, to which both belong.

Peggy Sue Dodge designed and constructed the bride’s gown of snowy lace over a layer of delicate ice blue fabric. It featured  western touches of fringe and sequins, drawing compliments from many female guests. Her white hat matched that of the groom, magnificently attired in western suit and sequined tie.

The bride’s son  Richard Harvey, and her daughter Victoria Page  served as best man and matron of honor.

Colleen Graham of Ashland’s Unity Church performed the nuptials.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” proclaimed  Don Maddox upon the ceremony’s completion.

As the Fiddlers serenaded  with “May I Have This Dance, For the Rest of My Life,” Don and Barbara  Maddox commenced their first waltz as husband and wife.

By F. C. Blake Of the Independent

Source: Former E. P. resident weds western music legend.

Dan Doshier/Buck Miner : Trucks-Trucks-TrucksSongs every trucker will love, Don Maddox, of The Maddox Brothers & Rose who played with Hank Williams Sr. Silk & Saddle, recently signed by RCA, the best Bluegrass group in Nashville, E-mail us your opinion and receive a free second CD. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Listen: Dan Doshier/Buck Miner | Trucks-Trucks-Trucks | CD Baby

Listen: Vol. 2 America's Most Colorful Hillbilly Band: Maddox Brothers & Rose: MP3 Downloads





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