Willie, Kris, and Merle Come Together on “Old Friends”

A new album honoring the late songwriter Roger Miller features three of country music’s finest

Out next Friday, August 31st, ‘King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller’ is the sweeping, essential homage to the late legend, but today, you can hear its most historic contribution: Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard trading verses together on “Old Friends.”

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Cut shortly before Haggard’s April 2016 death, the track is one of his final recordings, with the 1982, Nelson and Ray Price-featuring original being Miller’s final appearance in the country Top 20. Miller’s son and tribute co-producer Dean Miller reflects,”Ray is gone, and my dad is gone, so I thought, ‘Who else fits in that Mount Rushmore?’ Well, Merle and Kris. They were both very close to my dad, so I pursued both of them.”

However significant the crooned memories of “Old Friends” are, it’s still just one of the many extraordinary collaborations across the double album’s 40+ artists. From fellow legends Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn, to modern stars Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church, and a slew of left-field guests like John Goodman and Cake, ‘King of the Road’ is the long overdue affirmation of Roger Miller’s immortal influence and creative breadth. Let me know if you’d like to hear more about the record before it’s out.

‘King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller’ Tracklist:

Disc One
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
Fiddle (Banter)
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

Disc Two
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