Emmett Miller: An Obscure Minstrel Yodeler Who Changed Music Forever
Whether he knew what he was doing at the time or not, Miller almost single-handedly tore down the strict boundaries of musical ideas of the era. Here was a young, white, Christian man from the south, singing hot-jazz and black music in the north. Performing as a blackface with some of the most influential jazz musicians of all time (Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Eddie Lang, Jack Teagarden, and more). He created an entirely new style of country: pop. Country which swung. Country that was equally parts white and black, urban and rural. Country that was slurred through whiskey, girls, the road, and came out as the earliest forms of beatnik jive. Listening to Miller’s music today, one can hear the startling sound of a man perfectly in sync with the present: he’s influenced by the past, while he anticipated what was coming just around the bend. For fans of music history, musicology, Americana, country music, hillbilly, minstrelsy and vaudeville.