On the first episode of “The Road You Leave Behind” host Marty Smith talked to Mark Miller. Miller is the vocalist for the band Sawyer Brown. Marty and Mark talked about Sawyer Brown’s rise to fame and the impression they made on the 90s country scene. Before delving into that, they paused to talk about country legend Charley Pride.
Marty Smith starts the conversation about Charley Pride by mentioning that Mark Miller was signed to Pride’s publishing company as a songwriter. He then goes on to give a near-perfect summary of the late country legend, “Iconic, transcendent, pioneer, none of these words do him justice.”
He went on to ask Miller about what Charley Pride was like, wanting to get the perspective of someone who knew the legend personally. Miller replied, “Charley was such a good human being and a good guy. He would have never known everything you just said about him. Charley just thought he sang songs.”
Miller goes on to say that people around Charley Pride knew the impact he had on the music world. Charley didn’t see it that way. “His wife Rozene, she was really influential in handling a lot of the business and she knew. But Charley just carried himself like an everyday good guy and he was… In his mind, he just happened to be able to sing these songs”
While talking about Charley Pride, you can hear the reverence in Miller’s voice. He isn’t just talking about a country legend. Mark Miller is remembering a man he truly admired. It sounds more like he is remembering a mentor or family member than anything else.
Mark Miller on Working With Charley Pride
It is when Miller looks back on working with Charley Pride that he gets emotional. “It was an honor. I always love telling people that Charley Pride signed me as a songwriter. He and Rozene saw something in me.”
Mark goes on to say that until his mother passed in the summer of 2019, Charley Pride would always make a “big deal” about Miller to her. Charley Pride, boundary-breaking country music legend, wanted to make sure that Mark Miller’s mom knew how well her son was doing. It is at this moment that Miller has to pause and collect himself. Listeners will be thankful for this pause. They can also take the time to collect themselves after hearing Miller’s touching tribute to Pride.
Mark Miller concludes by saying that above being an iconic figure, Charley Pride was a good man and a humble human being.