This ambitious tribute to Roger Miller — singer-songwriter, hotel bellhop, rodeo rider, multi-instrumentalist, voice-over actor, Tony and Grammy award winner, and one-time cotton picker — has been a long time percolating. Though word of its release first circulated in 2015, the 30-track double disc took a while to see the light of day due to repeated delays. But it was worth the wait.
This 37 track, 2-CD set includes artists from all genres paying tribute to one of the greatest songwriters/performers of all time. Guest artists include Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Kacey Musgraves, Cake, John Goodman, Brad Paisley and many more. It’s a beautifully assembled, sprawling, eclectic collection of Miller compositions that does a terrific job balancing the somewhat kooky, always clever novelty hits he was best known for with deeper catalog items that displayed his incisive lyrical talents. The set touches on gospel, folk and blues along with country, showing Miller’s eclectic nature.
There are no missteps here, an anomaly for these tributes. And a closing “King of the Road” with almost every contributor singing a few lines, is a perfect bookend for this handsomely conceived and obviously heartfelt venture. One that should create a new generation of Roger Miller fans who can snap their fingers to the iconic “King of the Road,” and his less recognizable material, with the same twinkle in their eyes as Miller had writing and performing them.