Country music icon and Ashland resident Don Maddox brings his brithday bash to the Ashland Community Center. - MT file photo

Don Maddox turns 90

K.C. "Don Juan" Maddox, the last surviving member of the Bakersfield band The Maddox Brothers and Rose, will celebrate his 90th birthday from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.

Maddox and his wife, Barbara, also will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

There will be live music by Oregon Old-Time Fiddlers, Sage Meadows and her band, High Country, bluegrass group Siskiyou Summit and Maddox. Admission costs $8. Call 541-499-9412.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose formed from an Alabama sharecropping family that moved to California in 1933 and became an important precursor to the honky-tonk movement that shaped the Bakersfield Sound.

Maddox — along with siblings Cal, Fred, Rose and Henry — created a sensation in the '40s and '50s. The group had a playful, distinctive approach to western swing that got them dubbed "the most colorful hillbilly band in America."

The family group got its start on a radio program at Modesto's KTRB and in honky-tonks up and down the San Joaquin Valley.

The Maddoxes moved to Hollywood after landing regular appearances on "Hometown Jamboree," then to Shreveport, La., to play for two years on "Louisiana Hayride." The group appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in 1947 with its hit "Whoa Sailor," and again in 1949 with "Philadelphia Lawyer," written by Woody Guthrie.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose disbanded in 1955.

Maddox and his family are featured in the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's 2012-2013 exhibit, "The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country." The exhibit explores the impact that artists such as Maddox have on country music.

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