Jay Miller

b. 1923, El Campo, Texas, USA, d. 23 March 1996, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. One of the best-known and most successful record producers from Louisiana, Miller started out as a musician, playing with country…
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Artist Biography

b. 1923, El Campo, Texas, USA, d. 23 March 1996, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. One of the best-known and most successful record producers from Louisiana, Miller started out as a musician, playing with country and Cajun bands around Lake Charles from the late 30s. After a spell in the services, he started to make records aimed at a small localized market for Cajun music in south-west Louisiana; these, by obscure artists such as Lee Sonnier and Amidie Breaux, were among the first records in the idiom to appear after the war, and established his position as a pioneer in the field. He continued to record Cajun music and C&W on his Feature and Fais Do-Do labels, including the earliest records by Jimmie C. Newman and Doug Kershaw, and later on Kajun and Cajun Classics, which featured important figures such as Nathan Abshire and Aldus Roger. However, it was when he turned his attention in the mid-50s to black music that Miller began to develop his best-known and most enduring legacy. Between 1954, when he first recorded Lightnin’ Slim, and the early 60s, he established an extraordinary list of blues and country artists, including Slim, Lonesome Sundown, Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Lefty Frizzell, Kitty Wells, Silas Hogan and many others, whose work he leased to the Nashville label Excello Records. He also continued to release records on labels of his own, Zynn and Rocko, including rockabilly and local pop by artists such as Johnny Jano and Warren Storm, and in the 70s, on Blues Unlimited. His list of artists was enormous, but just as important was the characteristic sound he achieved in his studio in Crowley, which became inextricably linked with the indigenous sounds of Louisiana. He died following complications from quadruple bypass surgery in 1996.