About Don

My family at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Don is one of the original members of the STATLER BROTHERS, the most award-winning act in the history of country music.  He and his brother and two friends began singing in their hometown of Staunton, Virginia when Don was only fourteen years old.  Working all over their home and neighboring states as a part time group, they were discovered in 1964 by Johnny Cash and given their first record contract.  By the time Don was 20 years old, the STATLERS had their first major, world-wide hit record with FLOWERS ON THE WALL, which started a string of hits that generated a career in the music industry that lasted for four decades.  The STATLERS have been recipients of multiple industry awards:

  • 3 Grammy Awards
  • 9 CMA Awards
  • 48 Music City/TNN Awards
  • 13 Gold Albums
  • 8 Platinum Albums
Debbie and our little demon, Lucy
Debbie and our little demon, Lucy

Don was the principle writer for the group, writing most of the songs himself or co-writing with brother Harold.  Don has had over 250 of his songs recorded by not only the STATLERS, but also by Johnny Cash, George Burns,  Tammy Wynette, The Cathedrals, and Elvis Presley to name a few.  He personally has won 18 BMI Writer Awards.  These are given for the most played songs on the radio each year.  Many of Don’s songs have been Top Ten and Number One records, “I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You”, “Class of ‘57”, “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” and many more.

For the next thirty-eight years the Statlers continued to dominate the concert circuit with sold out houses.  In the ‘90’s, the STATLERS hosted a music variety show on TNN for seven years.  This series was produced by the BROTHERS and every episode written by Don and Harold.  The Reid brothers also wrote another TV series called YESTERYEAR during this same period and numerous television specials.

It wasn’t until the STATLER BROTHERS decided to retire from traveling in 2002 that Don pursued his writing career to another level.  Having songwriting and scriptwriting under his belt, the next obvious step was to write a book.  And that book was the scripture based HEROES AND OUTLAWS OF THE BIBLE published in June of 2002 by New Leaf Press.

It tells the story of eight major characters in the Bible: Abraham, Joseph, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Elijah, Esther and John the Baptist.  Written in everyday language, it touches on the flaws and the glories of these ancient heroes with problems and defects that we all can identify with even today.  It’s written with humor and precision and has not only been an education and entertainment for those who have read it, but has been used as Sunday School material and Bible Study courses all over the country in churches of nearly every denomination.

Don’s second book, SUNDAY MORNING MEMORIES, is far and away different from the volume two that everyone was expecting.  It’s a book of virtual memories of a boy growing up in a southern protestant church.  It’s humorous and nostalgic as it takes a warm and funny look at all the church activities we grew up with.  New hymnbooks and the agitation they cause.  C & E Christians and how they only fill the pews on holidays.  Vacation Bible school.  Sunday movies and church softball games.

His third book, YOU KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS WHEN…, was written with both sons, Langdon Reid and Debo Reid, and is a colorful collection of holiday thoughts and memories, fun quizzes for all ages, short stories, and poems.  The perfect coffee table book for the Christmas season.

Don teamed up with brother Harold in writing book number four.  All about the Statler Brothers’ career, it’s called RANDOM MEMORIES.  It’s a collection of their memories of a 40-year profession that took them on spiritual highs and lows that they are sharing for the first time with the public.  It also includes an unprecedented forty- eight pages of pictures never before published.  They explore the stories behind the many songs they wrote and reveal the personal relationships they had with some of the most renowned figures they have known in the entertainment and political fields.

2008 saw another dream come true for Don when he released his first novel.  After years of songwriting he had always wanted to try his hand at fiction.  O LITTLE TOWN is a story set in 1958 in a small town in Virginia at Christmas time.  It concerns a group of families and how their lives become entwined and touched by one another and by God.  It’s been called a mystery, an inspirational novel, and a historic novel.  You find the category for yourself when you read the book published by David C Cook.

Novel number two came in the form of ONE LANE BRIDGE.  Set again in a small town, but this time in North Carolina, J.D. and Karlie Wickman are feeling the pressures in their marriage.  Their daughter is dissatisfied at college, someone is stealing money from their business, J.D.’s mother is in a nursing home, and then a mysterious family shows up on a country road that threatens their very sanity.  Their problems and their solutions are the mysteries on both sides of the one lane bridge.

Don’s next book, THE MULLIGANS OF MT. JEFFERSON, is a sequel to O LITTLE TOWN. Cal, Harlan, and Buddy grow up together in a small Virginia town in the years before the second World War. United by age, proximity, and temperament, they get into—and out of—all the trouble that boys manage to find. They even earn a nickname from a local restaurateur who gives the boys their first jobs and plenty of friendly advice. “Uncle” Vic calls them the Mulligans, because they always seem to find a way through a thicket of trouble—family problems, girls, college, war—to success. Cal and Harlan and Buddy have been blessed with second chances. Now it’s 1959, and police lieutenant Buddy receives an early-morning phone call: his friend Harlan, a store owner, has been shot in a break- in. Cal, now a preacher, meets Buddy at the hospital, and together, as professionals and as friends, they begin to unravel what might have happened to Harlan.

His next book, HALF & HALF, was the result of a writing exercise that he and a fellow writing friend challenged each other with. This book brings together the art of short story writing with the personal touch of true vignettes taken from his life experiences. It is a mixture of fact and fiction that may invent a new genre in literature. One-half of the stories comes from his heart and mind while the other half comes from his memories of true-life adventures. HALF & HALF is the perfect armchair book you will want to keep close and read often.

And, of course, there are the speaking CDs that are sincerely faith based and will surely inspire a believer to step it up and match his or her game to God’s calling for each of us. Don has filled hundreds of pulpits delivering these personally written “messages of the heart” all based on Scripture, and told in his down- home relatable voice.

Don is the father of two sons.  Debo and his wife, Julie, and daughters Sela Mae and Adra, live within a stone’s throw.  You may have seen Debo’s name on many songs written with Don on albums over the years.

Younger son, Langdon, is married to Alexis and they have a daughter, Caroline, and a son, Davis. You may have seen Langdon’s name as a writer on many songs as well as seen him on TV and radio as part of country music’s duo WILSON FAIRCHILD, with his cousin Wil. (WilsonFairchild.com)

Don and his wife, Debbie, live in Staunton, Virginia with their faithful Cocker Spaniel, Lucy.

The Statler Brothers were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in the fall of 2007.  In 2008 they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The are only the sixth (6th) act to be entered into both Halls.