Mad. Bros. & Rose, a Rock-A-Billy Revue
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo Courtesy of Pacific Alliance Stage Company

There’s a real heal kicking, boot stomping treat at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park. Mad. Bros. & Rose, a Rock-A-Billy Revue is a musical tribute to the Maddox brothers and their sister Rose who started playing their particular brand of music in the 1930s. It was Merle Haggard who spoke about the music of The Maddox Brothers & Rose in the early 1950s: “Well, they’re not really hillbilly and they’re not really rock and roll – I guess you’d call them rock-a-hill-billy.”

Michael Grice, Pacific Alliance Stage Company’s artistic director conceived and directed this family tribute with musical direction by Peter Rowan. The first half of the evening is a recreation of a radio broadcast. In the early 30s the Maddox family were on KTRB Modesto featuring their sister Rose who was only 11 years old at that time. In 1939 they were named best band at the California State Fair and won a contract to perform their own show, which was syndicated throughout the West Coast. World War II interrupted their career when Cal and Don Maddox were drafted. After the war Maddox Brothers & Rose re-formed and had a show at KGDM in Stockton, California. They stayed together until the late 50s when Rose pursued a successful solo career.

Grice brings back just enough of the family’s corny stories, told between songs, to give a full picture of what their performances were like, but the concentration is on the music and the performers rock the hillbilly out of every member of the audience. When you see this performance, you’ll quickly notice that no one in the theatre is sitting still – heads are bobbing, boots are stomping and hands clapping to the beat of this excellent group of performers. For tickets or more information call (707) 588-3400 or visit www.spreckelsonline.com.

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