Alabama Music Hall of Fame :: Don Davis

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Don Davis

1997 Inductee

Instruments: Pedal Steel, Producer 
Date of Birth: December 22, 1928 
Place of Birth: Calvert, Alabama

Don Davis

 

Instruments: Pedal Steel, Producer 
Date of Birth: December 22, 1928 
Place of Birth: Calvert, Alabama

Calvert, Al., native Don Davis' musical career spanned over 40 years during which he worked as a session musician on over 3,000 recordings, was a music publisher, record producer, music arranger, hosted an early morning television show, and was music director for a network television show.

Davis joined the Grand Ol' Opry in 1945 with the Pee Wee King Band, and played on his first recording a year later backing Minnie Pearl. His steel guitar work can be heard on recordings by Pee Wee King, Cowboy Copas, Dinah Shore, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Hank Williams, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Conway Twitty and many others.

In 1955, he joined with Hank Garland and Shot Jackson to design and build 10 custom pedal steel guitars. They were among the first pedal steel guitars ever constructed. Jackson later teamed up with Buddy Emmons to begin the company that builds the famous Sho-Bud Pedal Steel Guitars.

After a five year stint at Channel 5 in Mobile where he hosted the "Alabama Jubilee" program Davis returned to Nashville to open a publishing company and begin a new career as a record producer. He produced recordings on Lefty Frizell, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, Connie Cato, Waylon Jennings and others.

Davis was also a jazz enthusiast and jammed on occasion with such jazz greats as Lionel Hampton, Nat Cole and Oscar Moore.

As a producer, Don produced the first Contemporary Gospel record to reach the Pop Charts, "Jesus Is A Soul Man" as well as records by Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizell, Kitty Wells, and Waylon Jennings to name a few.

Don Davis is the recipient of the 1997 Alabama Music Hall of Fame Life Work Award for Non-Performing Achievement.