Sunday, March 14, 2010

Emmett Miller

"The very concept of him-a white man in blackface, a hillbilly singer and a jazz singer both, a son of the Deep South and a roue of Broadway-is at once unique, mythic and a perfect representation of the schizophrenic heart of what this country, with a straight face, calls its culture". Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Emmett Miller worked with Gene Krupa, Eddie Lang, Jimmie Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey who all at one time were members of his backing band, The Georgia Crackers. He was direct influence on Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstong, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Bing Crosby, Jimmie Rogers, David Lee Roth, Eddie Arnold, Van Halen, Leon Redbone, Bob Dylan and most famously Hank Williams who reworked Miller's version of Lovesick Blues into one of his signature songs. Never heard of him? That's no surprise even though he is a cornerstone of American popular culture. To my ear there is no finer, more innovative and frankly stupifying American singer of the 20th century.

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An unfocused dilettante. I'm not half bad. Overall a very good yegg and a wrong guy in an increasingly right world.