“It was quite honor,” said Knight.
Knight said that even though her parents, Ira and Annie Clark, are no longer living, she hoped they looked down from heaven and saw her because they played such role in her musical career.
She began singing at the age of five and playing guitar at age 12.
“My daddy and my uncles would get together on Saturday night and play and sing,” she recalled.
It was after one of her uncle’s injured his hand and couldn’t play guitar that they started looking for someone to replace him.
“They saw this little red-haired girl running behind her daddy,” said Knight about herself.
I really owe it all to him and mama,” she said. Her mother would let her pick the chores she did. “I didn’t like to wash dishes because they would make my fingers soft so the guitar strings would hurt more. Mama washed a lot of dishes so I could play.”
Music was always in her father’s family, she said. It even inspired her name.
She said she was named after her grandfather’s favorite singer Mama Maybelle Carter.
“He was listening to her when he had an aneurysm and died,” she said. “He was part Irish and the only one in the family with red hair. When I was born and daddy saw my red hair, he named me after his father’s favorite singer.”
Knight, born in Kennesaw, was raised in Gordon County and appeared on shows with James Carson, Johnny Darrell, and Jay Silverheels who is known for his role as Tonto in the 1956 movie “The Lone Ranger.”
For her children, Sandra Dillard, David Dodd, and Michael Dodd, her singing with Silverheels held it’s own memories.
“He let them go back stage and play with his guns,” she recalled. “That was their favorite memory of me singing.”
She has also played on numerous radio programs throughout north Georgia. She once auditioned for the Cass Walker TV Show and was asked to perform, but due to a death in her family, was unable to attend.
Maybelle played live radio shows on WEBS Radio for several years with the Gordon County Boys Plus One, and the Bailey Brothers Band.
She has performed at the Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee, Georgia, The Turf Festival in Benton, Illinois, Avon Park, Florida, The Hank Williams, Sr. Festival in Georgiana, Alabama, Playhouse 75 in Tunnel Hill, Georgia, Fort Mountain Theater in Chatsworth, Georgia, and Silver Mountain Music Barn in Ramhurst.
Although, her career centers on northern Georgia, singing in many churches, nursing homes, music barns, and benefit shows she has also performed in Tennessee and North Carolina. She sang with Shady Hollow Bluegrass Band at Dillard’s Music Park and Raymond Fairchild was also on the show.
She continues to perform locally and across the country with shows scheduled in Florida and Illinois and her husband, Alfred is with her every step of the way.
“He’s carried my guitar many miles,” she said. “He’s my inspiration. I think he’d drive me a hundred miles to sing one song.”
She has written numerous songs throughout her career and recorded and released her first CD in 2009, called “Daddy’s Little Girl,” a song she wrote, inspired by her father, Ira Clark.
In her career, she has helped raise thousands of dollars at various benefits in north Georgia to help those during their times of need.
She is currently working on compiling more CD’s, including a gospel/bluegrass one and another country one in addition to lining up shows.
The Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame was founded in 1982 by Phyllis Annell Cole and the late John L. Carson for the purpose of preserving Georgia’s rich music heritage and history, to promote Georgia’s exciting music talent and to honor persons and organizations for their outstanding contributions and achievements in the music industry on the national, state and local levels.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be in the Hall of Fame, but I didn’t do it for myself. I did it for my parents and my grandchildren,” she said. Her grandchildren are Leanne Dillard and Grant Dodd.