You know him as the host of Dirty Jobs and the voice from Deadliest Catch and Ford commercials, but Mike Rowe wants Hoosiers to know him as a singer.
Rowe posted a video on Facebook, an audition of sorts, to make his case as a replacement for Jim Nabors during the Indianapolis 500. In the video, Rowe talks about Nabors and performs the classic tune (the singing starts about 2:30 into the clip).
“Oh, hey Facebook. Just refreshing my memory. Remember this guy?” Rowe asks the audience during a clip of a Nabors performance from the Indy 500. “Of course you do. Jim Nabors—Gomer Pyle could sing, that’s a fact. For 36 years at the Indianapolis 500, Jim Nabors would stand there, make a grown man cry and sing this classic song exactly the way it was meant to be sung.”
Rowe said Nabors performance always impressed him.
“Jim Nabors singing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ was the epitome to me of how a state song should be sung.”
How did this all start? Well, first of all Rowe is a former opera singer. Secondly, Rowe started thinking about “Back Home Again in Indiana” after someone left a comment on Facebook asking when he’d sing at the 500. Rowe replied with a comment saying he’d do it. The next step: an audition!
“I haven’t auditioned for anything in years!” he joked. “I don’t mind. I’m certainly not above it. In fact, I’m going to do it right now. Full disclosure, though: I’m not from Indiana. I’m from Maryland, born and raised in Baltimore. But nobody is calling saying, ‘Hey, want to come home and sing ‘Maryland, My Maryland?’ So this is fine. I love Indiana. I’ve been to Indiana several times. I’ve milked a lot of cows in Indiana. I collected semen from a bull in Indiana in 2009—not that that has anything to do with this.”
Rowe posted the video on Monday, and it’s gotten more than 630,000 views so far.
Since Nabors announced his retirement, Straight No Chaser and Josh Kaufman have performed the song.