Most people know Roger Miller as Alan-A-Dale, the minstrel rooster from the animated version of “Robin Hood,” even if they’re not aware of his work as a songwriter and country artist.
That’s a shame, and one a diverse lineup of local musicians hopes to correct with a tribute night for Miller this Saturday at Columbia City Theater. Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer, Annie Ford Band and Low Hums head a stellar group that also includes gutsy folk singer Pepper Proud and bluegrass attitude from The Warren G. Hardings.
“We are so excited about this killer line-up,” said Hearth Music’s Mindie Lind. “First of all, there are a lot of bands, many of which aren’t necessarily known for playing country music. Even though Roger Miller is mostly known as a country legend, the more you begin to dig into Roger Miller’s collection of tunes, it’s becomes more clear how versatile his music really is.”
It’s true. In addition to acting in a Disney movie, Miller scored three No. 1 hits in the 1960s and later wrote and starred in “Big River,” which won seven Tony Awards, including best musical and best score for Miller.
By 1985, the year “Big River” debuted, Miller would already be well-accustomed to winning awards. He picked up 11 Grammys in a two-year span from 1964 to 1965, and was named “Best Songwriter” and “Man of the Year” by the Academy of Country and Western Music to cap it off.
Perhaps the telling thing about Miller is that four of those Grammys were for “Dang Me” — funny and catchy, almost absurdist humor. See what we mean below.
Lind also recommends the obscure “My Uncle Used to Love Me, But She Died,” which you can check out below.
What should be most interesting Saturday is to see how bands like Low Hums, who peddle in dark garage-twang melancholy, deal with Miller’s sunny, silly lyrics and melodies. Or they could just play “Not in Nottingham,” Miller’s heartbreaking folk dirge from “Robin Hood.”
Tickets are just $10 at the door, and given that 14 acts are going to be on stage, getting yourself to Columbia City Theater Saturday night should be a no-brainer.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails