Jody Miller, a versatile singer with a rich, resonant voice who won a Grammy Award for "Queen of the House," a homemaker's reply to a hobo's refrain, died on October 6, 2022, at her home in Blanchard, Oklahoma. She was 80 years old. Although lauded for her recordings in the folk, pop, patriotic and Gospel genres, her most consistent success came in the field of country music, where she notched six Top 10 Hot Country hits out of her 30 Billboard charting singles, including her Grammy-nominated cross-over version of "He's So Fine."
Today Jody Miller's final album Wayfaring Stranger-The Final Recordings is being released. This six-song collection is the final recording project from Grammy Award Winner Jody Miller and even includes a re-recording of her biggest record.
It was Jody Miller's intention to record a project primarily of songs that she had enjoyed performing throughout her illustrious career, but never had the opportunity to record. She entered the Heart of Texas Recording Studio in Brady, Texas, and recorded the old-time spirituals "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Tramp On The Street." Miller recalled hearing both of these songs as a child growing up and cited Molly O'Day's version of "Tramp On The Street" as one of her favorite versions of the classic.
The song "I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand" became a personal favorite and testimony of Miller, especially during the last few years of her life. Written in 1974, by Colbert and Joyce Croft, the lines "I can't even walk without You holding my hand. The mountain's too high and the valley's too wide. Down on my knees, I learned to stand. And I can't even walk without You holding my hand" gave inspiration to Miller as she struggled with a debilitating disease.
"For the past several years, I've been dealing with the effects of Parkinson's Disease," Miller wrote in July of 2022. "Through God's grace and help of my family and close friends, I have been able to complete this project. Although I wish I had been stronger, I am so happy and grateful to share the messages of faith and inspiration conveyed through the words and music of most of these songs. I pray that they will be an encouragement to you."
Miller also included a new song "Blessed Are The Believers, and asked her long-time friend and fellow label mate Tony Booth to duet with her on the record. Miller and Booth were originally label mates on Capitol Records, and each spent a lot of time touring on the West Coast.
Miller's friend Bill Lorance, a confidante of fellow Oklahoma music legend Kay Starr, presented Yvonne DeVaney's country song "My Exes" to Miller, and she immediately decided to include it on the "Wayfaring Stranger" project.
Jody Miller concluded the project with a re-recording of her greatest hit, "Queen of The House," the song that literally changed her life. Released in 1965, the song is based on Roger Miller's monster #1 hit from early 1965, "King of the Road." The song would garner Miller a Grammy Award and became her signature record that propelled her into Country Music, so it is very fitting that she ended her recording career by leaving her fans another version of this classic.
The musicians included Michael Archer and Justin Trevino on bass, Deena Auderegg and Emily Gimble on piano, Justin Trevino on rhythm guitar, Charlie Walton on lead guitar, Jim Loessberg on pedal steel and drums, RJ Smith and Robert Weeks on fiddle and Jennifer McMullen and Jody Miller on harmony vocals. It was recorded at the Heart of Texas Recording Studio in Brady, Texas, and produced by Justin Trevino.
The album liner notes include a heartfelt farewell message to Miller's fans, as she knew this was to be her final recording project: "So now, I simply say, 'thank you, my friends' for allowing me, through the gift of song, to be a part of your lives for all these years."
"We felt privileged to work with Jody professionally for many years," Heart of Texas Records President Tracy Pitcox said. "We were indeed honored that she chose Heart of Texas Records as the label to record her final project. She was the ultimate professional, and her remarkable career will forever be remembered and cherished by fans all over the world."
To order 'Wayfaring Stranger,' visit heartoftexascountry.com or call (325) 597-1895.