Monet Maddux may be a relative newcomer to the performing singer-songwriter playing field, but there’s no mistaking her for a “rookie.” Although the Alabama native didn’t begin writing songs, singing and learning guitar until well into adulthood (when she already had a family and two very successful businesses — including an award-winning Harley Davidson dealership — under her belt), Maddux’s passion for words and music has informed her entire life: from the hours she’d spend as a little girl escaping to her “happy place” — writing poetry and stories in her notebooks — to the 14 years and counting that she’s co-owned (with her guitar-playing husband, Scott Maddux) The Shed Smokehouse & Jukejoint, which has brought many of the biggest names in Americana and roots rock to their beloved adopted hometown of Maryville, Tennessee. As for why it took her so long to begin composing and singing her own songs, well, just chalk it up to her unabashed awe for the art form and respect for those who created it for a livng.
“I have always valued the power of words and been transformed by the lyrics of a powerful song,” she says, noting that it honestly never occurred to her that she, too, had the soul of a musician and the ability (or gift) to channel that same transforming power herself. At least not until right around age 40, when her older brother asked her for help in writing words to some songs he had written. “He knew I had always liked to write, so it started with me just writing lyrics for his music, just as a favor,” she recalls. “But once I began playing an instrument and started putting words to my own melodies, I was up early and up late every single day consumed with songwriting. It was like turning on a faucet.” Early on in her discovery, she was still uncertain as to what to do with all those songs, and it would be a while longer — after sending a handful of demos to song pitchers for professional feedback, some of them sung by hired vocalists — before she came to the realization that she needed to start singing, performing, and recording them herself. It was that leap of faith that led to the recording of her 2017 EP, 11:11, with Knoxville artist, producer, and mult-instrumentalist Will Carter. Upon hearing the EP, Texas songwriting legend (and Shed favorite) Ray Wylie Hubbard made Maddux an offer she couldn’t refuse: “If you ever want to do a full album, I will produce it.”
Recorded deep in the heart of Texas with Hubbard’s hand-picked crew of some of Austin’s finest musicians, the resulting Monet Maddux is a debut that plays like a seasoned troubadour’s career best: 11 Monet originals packed with Southern sass and swagger and the grit, wit, and wisdom of a grown-ass woman emboldened by the rush of finally finding the perfect outlet for her artistic soul. Better late than never? Hell no: More like right on time — and she’s just getting warmed up.