This last Saturday, August 1, 2015, was the first Jody Miller Day in Blanchard, Oklahoma. I had the privilege of attending the holiday’s first celebration, the official “Home of Jody Miller” sign unveiling and street dedication. Through various words from the Mayor, radio personalities, and Jody herself, it was more than obvious that she is the pride of Blanchard and one of Oklahoma’s stars.
Leading up to the ceremony I listened to Miller’s Grammy Award winning album, “Queen of The House.” I had found a pristine copy and it has quickly became one of the gems in my collection. I was determined to get Ms. Miller’s signature on this sleeve this day.
The album opens with the iconic “Queen of The House.” This song won the Grammy for best Female Country Performance and is an answer to Roger Miller’s (another Okie) “King of The Road.” It was quite the feminist tune in the most respectful way, especially in 1965. When listening to the song with a narcissistic tone and a little sarcasm, it can be quite a wake up call and very humourous. The video adds much to the song’s candor as well.
The song is followed by another one of Miller’s hits, “He Walks Like A Man.” A tune with a marching beat and brass vocals. Flipping the record, you find classic covers of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line.”
Her voice flows over “Silver Threads” differently then I have heard before. There is no sorrow to be drowned in the warm glow of anybody’s wine for Miller’s voice is a fine wine in itself. Once you listen to a song by Miller you acquire an after taste. Her vocals resonate within you, and it’s difficult to let go. It is the same situation with “I Walk The Line.” Something sticks with you after listening to it. You must listen to this song at least three times for a good sip.
Now, after listening to this album on repeat, I was ready for the event. Although the ceremony was short in length it had great depth. The testimonies about the singer Jody and the person Jody opened your eyes to more than just her music. She’s a God-fearing, family oriented, good ol’ country girl (Thank God!). When I went up to meet her she was shocked that I had a copy of the album and graciously signed it for me. We then chatted for a moment. As an Okie and music fan, it was a surreal experience.
I take great pride in being Oklahoman, our heritage is so rich, but I especially take pride in our musical heritage as a state. Some of the greatest singers have red dirt running through their veins. Many of these singers returned to the great plains and it seems that although they have won lofty awards, being recognized in their own backyard is the biggest one.
It’s safe to say once Okie dust gets in your bones there is no turning back. Our heritage and pride is doing fine down here in Oklahoma and Jody Miller helps make this land grand.