Patsy Montana

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Ruby Rebecca Rose (Blevins)

Also Known As: "Patsy Montana"
Birthplace: Beaudry, AR, United States
Death: May 03, 1996 (87)
San Jacinto, CA, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Augustus Blevins and Amanda Blevins
Wife of Paul Rose
Mother of Private and Private
Sister of Hope Marion; Kenneth Garland Blevins; Luther Quentin Blevins and Frances Elms

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Patsy Montana

Ruby Rose Blevins (October 30, 1908 – May 3, 1996), known professionally as Patsy Montana, was an American country music singer-songwriter and the first female country performer to have a million-selling single ("I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"). She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Ruby Blevins (she added an "e" to Ruby in her late teens) was born in Beaudry, Arkansas and grew up near Hope. She had ten siblings, all of them boys, However, two died before puberty from an accidental fire.

In 1929, Blevins went to California to study violin at the University of the West. She won a local talent contest with her singing, yodelling, and playing the guitar and first prize was an opportunity to play on the Hollywood Breakfast Club radio program.

In the summer of 1933, Blevins went with two of her brothers to the Chicago World's Fair. The trip's mission was to enter a large, prize watermelon the Blevins had raised, and Rubye was invited to go, mainly to meet up with two pen pals, Millie and Dolly Good (The Girls of the Golden West). While in Chicago, she auditioned for a crooner's role. However, she began laughing halfway through the song. The producer on hand fell in love with her "giggle" and auditioned her instead at WLS-AM for a group called the Prairie Ramblers. Blevins and the Ramblers became regulars on WLS's National Barn Dance program. The Prairie Ramblers also backed Blevins on most of her hits with ARC Records, Decca Records, and RCA Records.

In 1934, Blevins' repertoire included "Montana Plains", a reworking of a song originally called "Texas Plains". Blevins further altered the composition, which became her signature song, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart". Released in 1935, the song made Blevins the first female country recording artist to have a million seller. Blevins performed on National Barn Dance until the 1950s, and worked with the likes of Gene Autry, Pat Buttram, Red Foley, the Girls of the Golden West and George Gobel.

Blevins took her stage name from silent film star and world-champion roper, Monte Montana, with whom she had an opportunity to work early in her career. She made one feature-length movie called Colorado Sunset with Buttram and Gene Autry.

Barn Dance also introduced her to her future husband, Paul Rose. Rose was a stage manager for Gene Autry at the time, and was always around when Autry was performing, which just so happened to be when Patsy was performing. According to Patsy (as she was by this time called by everyone who knew her), they were the "only two single people involved with the show and kinda got thrown together." Though Rose was around five years her junior, they married on July 3, "honeymooned," and July 4 went their separate ways on different tours. Two weeks later they were again united, but throughout their married life they often followed this pattern. The couple had two daughters, Beverly and Judy. Montana and her two daughters later appeared as the Patsy Montana Trio.

After semi-retiring in the late 1950s to spend more time with her family, Montana attempted a comeback in 1964. She released an album on the Sims label in Arizona, notable for having Waylon Jennings as lead guitar player before he made his national debut. The album was later re-released by Starday Records. She influenced later singers Patsy Cline and Dottie West, and more recently, Western music star Devon Dawson, the singing voice of Toy Story 2's Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.

Montana's signature song, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart", appears over the end credits of John Sayles's 1996 film Lone Star, which was released just weeks after Montana's death.

Montana died on May 3, 1996 at her home in San Jacinto, California. She is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California. She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1987 and in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1996.


Patsy Montana achieved a landmark when her 1935 recording of her polka-tempoed composition “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” became the first record by a female country artist to become a runaway hit. With her energetic voice and sparkling yodeling, and wearing her cowgirl outfit, Montana presented a cheerful image to Depression-era America. The lyrics of her great hit spoke of independence and love and the kind of freedom the cowboy had come to symbolize.

Montana was born Ruby Blevins into a struggling family of ten boys. At seventeen she added an “e” to her name to make it more sophisticated, and a year later she left for California. A skilled guitarist and fiddler, she won a talent contest in 1931 singing Jimmie Rodgers’s songs and landed a job on Los Angeles–area radio as Rubye Blevins, the Yodeling Cowgirl from San Antone. Adopting the name Patsy Montana, she also joined with two other female western singers and, as the Montana Cowgirls, worked radio station KMIC with singer-songwriter Stuart Hamblen and cowboy star Montie Montana.

When the Montana Cowgirls disbanded, Patsy Montana moved back to Arkansas. Then, a brief booking on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, brought her to the attention of RCA Victor Records star Jimmie Davis. Montana backed Davis in the studio on fiddle and vocals and made her own RCA recordings in 1932. A trip with her brothers Kenneth and Claude to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933 included an audition with WLS for a vocalist slot with the Kentucky Ramblers, a hot, swing-influenced stringband. That year, at twenty-five, Montana joined the Kentucky Ramblers, who became the Prairie Ramblers to accommodate their new western image.

Extensive road performances and radio appearances established a reputation for Montana and the band, and even after her marriage to Paul Rose, in 1934, she remained with the group. In 1935, producer Art Satherley took them to New York to record for ARC. This led to the historic recording session that would produce “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

Montana’s cowgirl image and material became her stock in trade, with many recordings following. Her exuberant yodeling and sunny singing were backed by sizzling instrumental work on songs like 1940’s “Swing Time Cowgirl.”

From 1940, Montana was a solo act. She made a brief appearance in Gene Autry’s 1939 film Colorado Sunset, but generally she worked on the road. She had her own network radio show during 1946 and 1947, and in 1948 she starred on the Louisiana Hayride. Montana continued to book appearances and record until her death. She was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. - Mary A. Bufwack

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Patsy Montana's Timeline

October 30, 1908
Beaudry, AR, United States
May 3, 1996
Age 87
San Jacinto, CA, United States