Genre: Country / Western Swing
Location NASHVILLE, Tennessee, US
Profile Views: 15175
Last Login: 5/12/2012
Member Since 8/7/2008
Record Label Unsigned
Type of Label Indie
BioBorn on March 27th, 1929 to Reverend and Mrs. Charles Warden in Mt. Grove, Missouri, Don Warden had a bright future ahead of him; it was only a matter of time before his dreams became a reality thus taking him all over the world bringing his talents to country music audiences alike. Don’s initial fascination with the steel guitar began in 1948. Legendary Western-Swing performer Bob Wills use of the steel guitar in his band, “The Texas Playboys” inspired Don to purchase his first steel guitar. Before playing the steel guitar, Don learned how to play the rhythm guitar. During his High School years Don formed his own band, “The Rhythm Rangers,” playing steel guitar and providing vocals. In addition to running his band, Don hosted an early morning radio show on KWPM out of West Plains, Missouri while working as an announcer and disc jockey in the afternoons. The Rhythm Rangers worked at several radio stations such as KBOA in Kennett, Missouri and KWHN in Fort Smith, Arkansas, gaining exposure to a broader audience. After working with country artists Red Sovine and The Wilburn Brothers at The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, Don left the show to serve our country in 1951. While in the army, Don was stationed in the Army Security Agency in Washington D.C., and Boston, MA. Two years later, after being let out of the service, Don returned to the Louisiana Hayride with Red to perform on the show. The Louisiana Hayride is notorious for helping launch the careers of many American music greats such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Will Strahan, Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Jim Reeves, and George Jones. After receiving an offer to work on the Grand Ole Opry, Red moved to Nashville leaving his band behind. Following Red’s departure, Don moved to St. Louis, Missouri to attend flight school at the expense of the US army. While studying for his pilot’s license, Don played clubs in the area on the weekends. After receiving his pilot’s license, Don returned to his hometown of West Plains, Missouri to spend time with his parents. While visiting West Plains, Don drove up to Springfield to reminisce with his fellow musician friends at radio station, KWTO. It was there that Don first met Porter Wagoner. Porter offered Don an invitation to play steel in his band at the Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri on the ABC television network, and Don accepted. In 1957 Don moved to Nashville, Tennessee to perform on The Grand Ole Opry with Porter, and in 1960 Porter began his syndicated television show, “The Porter Wagoner Show” which ran on over 120 television stations. Don worked with Porter for over twenty years as his longtime manager and steel guitar player. The infamous show is also known for giving singer/songwriter, country music superstar Dolly Parton her first big break in the music business. Dolly performed on the show for seven years before leaving Porter to pursue a solo career. Her heartbreaking yet honest signature tune, “I Will Always Love You” was written about Porter and her departure from the show. Working with Porter Wagoner gave Don the opportunity to travel all over the US playing shows such as The Wheeling Jamboree and Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, Town Hall Party in Los Angeles, California, and The Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, Virginia, as well as travelling overseas to Europe and most provinces of Canada performing shows to international audiences. On September 1st, 1975, Don began working for Dolly Parton as her full-time manager. This long-lasting relationship both professional and personal has created many years of precious memories and mutual respect amongst the two. Having the utmost admiration for Don, Parton has referred to Warden as her “mentor,” and someone whom she trusts for advice and confides in when in doubt. Don is often thought of as “The Genius behind Dolly Parton.” Don showcased his exceptional talents once again as he played steel guitar for the first time in thirty-four years on April 12th, 2008. Don backed Dolly for her tribute show in honor of the late Porter Wagoner at her Dollywood theme park nestled in the smoky mountains of East Tennessee. (Pigeon Forge to be exact.) It was on the stage that very afternoon that Don was presented with a beautiful trophy from Dolly commemorating his many years of employment with her, and an invitation along with a plaque to join the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri by Dewitt Scott. This coming September Don will celebrate his 33rd year working with Dolly! Don bought the first steel guitar made by the Sho-Bud company. The original Sho-Bud steel guitar that Don owned and played for many years is now on display at The Grand Ole Opry museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The Sho-Bud steel guitar is preferred by Don, and he still plays that brand of steel guitar today. On August 30th, 2008 another milestone will be added to Don’s illustrious career. He will be officially inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri alongside his musical peers and fellow steel guitar players. Musician, singer, promoter, booking agent, accountant, bus driver, mechanic, trusting friend, loving husband and father… Don has done it all! Don and his wife Lois Ann currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee. He and Lois have one child, a son, Donald Charles Jr.
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InfluencesBob Wills, Porter Wagoner, Eddy Arnold, Western-Swing
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