“King of the Road” Roger Miller Tribute Album On The Way
For the remarkable career Country Music Hall of Famer Roger Miller accrued over 35 years of service to music, he still never seems to get his proper due. A true wordsmith and wit maestro, you’d be hard pressed to find someone to offer a sideways word about Roger Miller, even if they don’t like country music. For kids to old folks, Roger Miller can make just about everyone smile, and his genius has revealed itself to be just as potent in the present tense than it was when he was alive.
Announced on Wednesday (6-20), a massive tribute album dedicated to the King of the Road will be making its way to music lovers. And though tribute records come down the pike all the time and make you wonder if your time and money is worth heaping onto songs you already know not sung by the original artist, this one seems to have a little something special in the recipe.
All of your favorite Roger Miller songs like “Chug-A-Lug,” “Dang Me,” “Husbands and Wives,” and other more obscure ones will be included of course, and so will a handsome list of contributors that includes Dwight Yoakam, Jamey Johnson, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Kacey Musgraves, and a few names outside of the country realm such as Toad The Wet Sprocket.
The 31 tracks of King Of The Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller will be released on August 31st. The project was produced by Colby Barnum Wright of Wright of Center Music, as well as Roger Miller’s son Dean. “I think my dad was always under-appreciated,” says Dean Miller. “When you’re funny, sometimes people take you less seriously, but those songs are harder to craft. People within the industry, or people who know the craft of songwriting, understand the level he was working on. But I’m not sure everybody understands the impact he had.”
The impact of Roger Miller was huge. Despite the silliness, Miller was able to land twenty-one Top 20 singles in his career, including two that went #1. And that was just the songs he performed. Miller also had four #1’s performed by others, from “Billy Bayou” by Jim Reeves in 1958, all the way to “Tall, Tall Trees” by Alan Jackson in 1995 and Brooks & Dunn’s “Husbands and Wives” in 1998. He also amassed 11 Grammy Awards, speaking to what Roger’s peers thought about him.
The list of talent for the tribute is stacked, and Dean Miller says finding contributors wasn’t hard at all. “I saw Eric at a bar in Austin and said, ‘Hey, we’re doing this tribute album to my dad!’ Eric immediately said, ‘Yes! I want to do ‘Oo De Lolly!’ And he started telling me how he would do it, right there. He had it all in his head already … I knew of Ringo [Starr’s] friendship with my dad and his appreciation for country music. Also, I wanted to surprise people by showing them who my dad had influenced.”
King Of The Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller TRACK LIST:
Greatest Songwriter (Banter)
Chug-a-Lug – Asleep at the Wheel ft. Huey Lewis
Dang Me – Brad Paisley
Leavin’s Not the Only Way to Go – The Stellas ft. Lennon and Maisy
Kansas City Star – Kacey Musgraves
World So Full of Love – Rodney Crowell
Old Friends (Banter)
Old Friends – Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard
Lock Stock and Teardrops – Mandy Barnett
You Oughta Be Here With Me – Alison Krauss ft. The Cox Family
The Crossing – Ronnie Dunn, The Blind Boys of Alabama
In the Summertime – The Earls of Leicester ft. Shawn Camp
England Swings – Lyle Lovett
You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd – Various Artists
Half a Mind – Loretta Lynn
Invitation to the Blues – Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter
It Only Hurts Me When I Cry (Live) – Dwight Yoakam
Mouth Noises (Banter)
Oo De Lally – Eric Church
Engine, Engine #9 – Emerson Hart ft. Jon Randall
When Two Worlds Collide – Flatt Lonesome
Reincarnation – Cake
You Can’t Do Me This Way and Get By With It – Dean Miller ft. The McCrary Sisters
Chicken S#$! (Banter)
Nothing Can Stop Me – Toad the Wet Sprocket
Husbands and Wives – Jamey Johnson ft. Emmylou Harris
I’ll Pickup My Heart and Go Home – Lily Meola
I Believe in the Sunshine – Daphne and the Mystery Machines
Guv’ment – John Goodman
Old Songwriters Never Die (Banter)
Hey, Would You Hold It Down? – Ringo Starr
The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me – Dolly Parton ft. Alison Krauss
I’d Come Back to Me – Radney Foster ft. Tawnya Reynolds
One Dying and a Burying – The Dead South
Do Wacka Do – Robert Earl Keen, Jr.
King of the Road – Various Artists
June 20, 2018 @ 6:49 pm
I always thought “Lock, Stock and Teardrops” was a Waylon song.
June 20, 2018 @ 6:52 pm
Nice to see Emerson Hart on there. He’s fantastic! Anyone here ever heard his album “Beauty in Disrepair”?
June 28, 2018 @ 8:00 am
Haven’t heard of it but based on the title I will check it out!
June 20, 2018 @ 6:55 pm
I love that Dean Miller quote. I routinely complain about the lack of cleverness in country music today, especially in terms of humor and lightheartedness, the ability to turn a phrase or play on a word. It is indeed much harder than it appears.
June 20, 2018 @ 8:26 pm
June 21, 2018 @ 10:45 pm
Paisley is underrated as a songwriter .The guy is brilliant . I’m glad he didn’t play the bro game …..he’s tried to be somewhat contemporary without sacrificing his songwriting gift .
June 20, 2018 @ 7:19 pm
May not be here because he didn’t write it, but when I think of Roger I think Little Green Apples.
June 20, 2018 @ 7:22 pm
The Jamey and Emmylou collaboration sounds promising. Seems like JJ always stands out on these tribute albums.
June 20, 2018 @ 7:39 pm
Mandy Barnett, there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.
June 21, 2018 @ 8:15 am
I got her first two albums on cassette in the mid-to-late ’90s; but yeah, nice to see her get to be part of something like this. 🙂
Frank the Tank
June 21, 2018 @ 6:43 pm
I was just listening to her the other day on one of my own Spotify playlists. She’s incredible! I’ve always thought she should have been a big star but it’s good to know she’s still performing.
June 20, 2018 @ 7:44 pm
A bit surprised that John Prine isn’t a part of this. He’s covered “When Two Worlds Collide,” reissued some of Roger’s work on his label and, like Roger, understands using humor to make a song work
June 20, 2018 @ 8:03 pm
Some fun combos. I expect some heavy rotation on BRC come September.
June 20, 2018 @ 8:21 pm
It’s fantastic that they’re including songs from Big River. There is no greater evidence of Roger Miller’s musical genius than his ability to write the music and lyrics for an entire Broadway musical with almost no knowledge of Broadway musicals. He left such a legacy but left us way too soon.
June 21, 2018 @ 6:01 am
Eight Tony Awards!
June 20, 2018 @ 8:52 pm
Cool to see Loretta doing a song Ernest Tubb made famous with Half a Mind
June 20, 2018 @ 9:01 pm
Unrelated, but the new Garth Brooks “honky tonk” song was a major letdown.
June 20, 2018 @ 9:33 pm
Loretta is included,YEAH!!!
June 20, 2018 @ 10:19 pm
I always felt Roger Miller was a big influence on Brad Paisley. Good to see him on this.
June 21, 2018 @ 12:49 am
June 21, 2018 @ 3:09 am
Damn, the lineup is stacked with talent.
June 21, 2018 @ 3:20 am
Roger Miller was an absolute genius, and this collection has the potential to be really good. “One Dyin and a Buryin”, “Reincarnation”, and other nuggets on here are fantastic tunes. Musgraves covering “Kansas City Star, thats what I are” should be interesting. Miller wrote so many deceptively deep songs, many of the early ones were only 80 or 90 second album cuts that have more subtle twists and turns in them than 95% of modern mainstream crap. Its a shame that too much of his legacy is a handful of songs that get put on “Craziest Kountry Hits” types of compilations.
“King of the Road” is one of those songs that for me, gets the ultimate compliment- it is “un-coverable”. It is so iconic, theres no way anyone can improve upon the arrangement, instrumentation, vocals, anything. I hope this collection gets some long overdue attention for Roger.
June 21, 2018 @ 7:18 am
I thought Randy Travis did a wonderful rendition of “King of the Road”.
June 21, 2018 @ 3:35 am
Brought a smile to my face. I will be buying this. Thank you.
June 19, 2020 @ 6:27 am
Are you by any chance the same Dick Hollopeter who was a TV weatherman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa back in the 80s?
June 21, 2018 @ 3:37 am
“The Last Word in Lonesome is Me”
Genius, and only one example.
June 21, 2018 @ 7:48 am
I saw a documentary on Roger where Kris Kristofferson marveled at the number of times him and others saw that word, but leave it to Roger to come up with that phrase.
June 21, 2018 @ 4:58 am
Not a big fan of tribute albums here…but this is a “must have”. Great songs & great lineup.
June 21, 2018 @ 6:00 am
Also he won EIGHT Tony Awards for his musical “Big River.”
Best songwriter ever by a measurable standard.
Eric Church singing the Robin Hood song is worth the thirty dollars for this.
Also “Last Word in Lonesome” is just such a great song and hearing Dolly and Allison singing it is almost like dying and going to Disneyland. I’ve had a bad day and this puts a smile on my face big enough to eat a banana sideways
June 21, 2018 @ 7:07 am
I guess you can have your Cake and eat it too!
June 21, 2018 @ 7:15 am
Jamey Johnson featuring EmmyLou? Yes please. You can tell by the variety of artists, what a profound impact he had on the industry. Looking forward to this.
June 21, 2018 @ 7:18 am
I thought Randy Travis did a wonderful rendition of “King of the Road”.
June 21, 2018 @ 9:08 am
Let’s also be reminded that Roger Miller could flat-out sing. Great range. Wonderful expression. He could play, too. He had it all.
June 21, 2018 @ 4:57 pm
I think (and I could be showing a lot of favoritism since Miller is one of my favorite musicians) that he was one of the most talented people who existed in his day.
He could pick on par with Roy Clark, fiddle as well as Magaha and Tommy Williams and circles around Curly Ray Cline.
he had an incredible range! “Ive been a long time leaving” has one of the best lowest to highest spreads in a single song in all of Country Music.
He had this genius lyrical style of great double meanings and other times just thoughts that nobody else ever thought of.
He was also completely insane.
My favorite story of his came from one of his tours, and apparently he never slept like normal people do and was just wired up at random hours.
So he goes into a pawn shop and asks if this pistol is loaded, and the guy says no.
so Roger Miller shoots himself in the hand and says “This imitation bullet sure hurts a lot.”
I can’t remember where I read/heard that but it’s always stuck with me.
June 21, 2018 @ 11:42 am
Chesnutt with his version of You Can’t Do Me This Way.
June 22, 2018 @ 3:15 pm
Chesnutt is under-rated.
June 21, 2018 @ 3:51 pm
Was hoping Mo Pitney would appear on this album just because of the amount of Roger Miller tunes he covers live. Really looking forward to this though.
June 22, 2018 @ 7:37 am
This should be a fun one! Miller had great range, not only vocally, but lyrically. He could go from something as dark as Pardon this Coffin or Sorry Willie to something as thoughtful as Husbands and Wives to something as downright silly as Do-Wacka-Do. Just about every lesson a person needs to learn about lyric writing can be gleaned from studying his work. Underappreciated doesn’t begin to cover it.
June 22, 2018 @ 9:40 am
I tend to agree with the genius references. One of the all-time greats. There aren’t 5 better singer-songwriters in the known universe.
I could listen to Roger Miller stories all day.
His stuff is both eminently coverable and utterly un-coverable all at the same time. Coverable due to the genius of his songwriting. Un-coverable due to his performing prowess.
June 22, 2018 @ 8:40 pm
Went on a date with this college girl. She didn’t like my Roger Miller CD that I had in. Told her she had to walk home or take the third boxcar, midnight train.
June 23, 2018 @ 6:22 am
this took me a while to find. a great fun performance of his. I could listen to this all day
July 19, 2018 @ 8:20 pm
I wish “River in the Rain” was included.
September 10, 2018 @ 12:11 pm
Trigger… you really should review this thing. What an amazing album in several respects. It somehow captured the spirit of Roger Miller’s music in a way I haven’t seen done. Besides that, the crazy diversity of contributors in borderline shocking. Daphne and the Mystery Machines (who?), Ringo Starr (what?), Merle Haggard (when?), Huey Lewis with Asleep at the Wheel (where?), and Toad the Wet Sprocket (why?). I do not understand how this works, but I did almost every track. The HUGE misstep for me is Engine Engine #9, which is a horrible interpretation of one of my favorites. I didn’t really care of Invitation to the Blues either, but I at least understand what they were trying to do. This is probably the strangest tribute album I’ve ever listened to, and also among the best.
October 10, 2018 @ 5:57 am
I am a big fan of Roger, I am delighted to hear that his work will be covered by these artists looking forward to hear it. Congratulations to his family for making this happen.