David Miller

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b. 17 March 1883, Ohio River, Ohio, USA, d. USA. Miller worked as an agricultural labourer before serving in the US Army during World War I. During his military service, he developed an eye disease that…
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Artist Biography by

b. 17 March 1883, Ohio River, Ohio, USA, d. USA. Miller worked as an agricultural labourer before serving in the US Army during World War I. During his military service, he developed an eye disease that led to his discharge and eventually cost him his sight. With no pension, he turned to music as a means of survival. Playing guitar and singing old-time songs, he worked mainly in West Virginia, the state border being close to his birthplace and thus a region he had known before going blind. He teamed up with banjo player Cecil ‘Cob’ Adkins and from the early 20s developed a following, in part through his records, which he made from around 1924, and through radio broadcasts that he and Adkins made through the late 20s and early 30s. He recorded for Starr Piano Company, Paramount Records and Gennett Records and also broadcast regularly over station WSAZ. For a spell, Miller and Adkins teamed up with banjo player Belford Harvey and five brothers named Baumgardner, four fiddles and one banjo, to form the West Virginia Mockingbirds, a band that was later expanded to include Miller’s guitarist son. Among other early country musicians with whom he worked were Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander, Ray Benson, Luther Campbell, Cindy Cashdollar, Floyd Domino, Michael Francis, Johnny Gimble, David Sanger, Don Walser and J. Donald Walters.

Miller continued to perform through into the 50s, usually staying close to his West Virginia home. Included in his repertoire were songs such as ‘Faded Coat Of Blue’, ‘Give My Love To Nellie Jack’, ‘My Little Indian Napanee’, ‘Don’t Forget Me, Little Darling’, ‘Lonesome Valley’, ‘Two Little Orphans’, ‘That Bad Man Stackolee’, ‘Many Times With You I Wandered’, ‘Sweet Floetta’, ‘And A Little Child Shall Lead Them’, ‘You’ll Find Her With The Angels’ and ‘Down Where The Swanee River Flows’.