Before the likes of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire graced the country music stage; there was the original country music in the person of Patsy Montana. Today is her supposed 110th birthday, and we greet her a happy one in heaven. But, before all the fame and success Patsy had savored, let us have a look at her humble beginnings.
A Country Diva Is Born
Born on October 30, 1908, Ruby Rose Blevins grew up in Beaudry, Arkansas. She is the 11th child and first daughter of a farmer. At a young age, she had shown interest in music. As a matter of fact, she considered the great Jimmie Rodgers as a significant influence in music. As a child, she learned to yodel and play the organ, guitar, and violin.
In college, she dropped out of the University of Western Louisiana to pursue a music career. Around 1930, she moved to California with her older brother and his wife. There, she won a talent contest and started appearing on local radio stations as “Rubye Blevins,” popularly dubbed as the “Yodeling Cowgirl from San Antone.” By adding “e” to her name, she thought that it would bring sophistication to her image.
However, the presence of Monty Montana on the KMIC station inspired her to take Montana as her last name. Soon enough, western-music star Stuart Hamblen suggested that she take “Patsy” as her first name. Instead of retaining her name Ruby, Hamblen said that Ruby sounded too similar with Ruthie, which was a name of another singer in the same group.
Her Career as Patsy Montana
In 1932, Montana went back to Arkansas for a visit. Also, she performed for a short time on Shreveport, LA, radio station KWKH. Her performance didn’t go to waste as it got the attention of Shreveport recording star Jimmie Davis. The latter then invited the former into a collaboration. Montana then backed Davis on several recordings. In addition, she was even given a chance to record her own. Her debut record was released in 1933. It included “When the Flowers of Montana Are Blooming.”
From then on, Montana continued to bring her talent wherever she went. In no time, other artists and record labels started to notice her. Others even invited her to do a guest performance.
In 1935, Montana recorded her peppy polka-rhythm “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Recorded on the ARC label in New York, the song eventually became her signature song. However, it was not only her hit. Her other hits included “Rodeo Sweetheart,” “Montana Plains,” and “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Dream.”
With her signature song “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” she became the first female country music artist to have earned a million-selling single.
On May 3, 1996, Patsy Montana, unfortunately, passed away at her home in San Jacinto, California. She was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in California. She was later inducted at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, the same year after her death.
Listen to Patsy Montana perform her million-selling hit “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart:”