CARTHAGE — A woman who ran honky tonks in Longview and Kilgore before retiring in Marshall was honored recently by the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage.
In addition to adding the late K.T. Oslin and Branson entertainer Clay Cooper to the Hall of Fame, the late Mattie Castleberry was presented the Pioneer Award.
Castleberry is the owner of Mattie’s Ballroom, which was in Kilgore, and she also ran the Reo Palm Isle in Longview before retiring to Marshall on land that would become the Josey Ranch.
Her family, including the Olympian and rodeo rider Martha Josey, was present Aug. 12 to accept the award on her behalf.
“I’ll tell you a little bit about Maddie Castleberry,” Josey said. “For one thing, she paved the way for a lot of country music people all over the world now.”
Josey talked about Castleberry’s long career promoting country music and and her honky tonks.
“I was thinking tonight that Maddie brought all of these famous people to East Texas and that’s what we’re doing tonight,” Josey said.
A packed crowd at the Carthage Civic Center heard performances from Cooper, the TCMHOF band, Linda Davis, Randy Moore, Moe Bandy, Joe Stampley, Tony Book, Chase Dawson, Bobby Tomberlin, Tess Frizzell and others.
The show also included performances from John Ritter Tribute Showcase winner Mary Clare and last year’s showcase winner, Chase Dawson. Wayne particularly praised Dawson, calling him “a great ambassador.
“That’s one of the most important jobs that the winner of that contest has every year to represent the great state of Texas and represent everything that goes on here… He did it mighty well all year long,” Wayne said.
Oslin died in 2020, but her musical accomplishments and lasting impact were noted as Tess Frizzell, Linda Davis, Gena Hamilton and Billie Jo Jones performed some of their favorite Oslin songs.
Davis said Oslin made a big impression on her generation and those that followed.
“She did things her own way, and we loved that about her,” she said.
Oslin had moved to Texas at an early age and attended Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, where she majored in theater. Her first hit was “80s Lady.” Oslin went on to have many major hits and earned four Grammy Awards. Those included, “DD Ya,” “Come Next Monday,” “Hold Me” and “Hey Bobby.”
Singer and radio personality Dallas Wayne once met Oslin at the Grand Ole Opry and recalled she was perhaps the most self-assured person he’d ever met.
“She was always an inspiration not only to women, but also some of us old guys because she signed her first record deal at the age of 45,” Wayne noted. “That’s almost unheard of.”