For the upcoming album King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller, Loretta Lynn went into the studio to record “Half a Mind,” a song Miller wrote that became a big hit for Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours in 1958. Despite recent health setbacks, Lynn’s voice soars through the track that fits her vocals like a glove. She perfectly navigates the tune’s emotion with the strength of someone who’s lived a lot of life and holds a steadfast love for singing.
The background of the song is up for interpretation. One story claims Miller co-wrote the track with Douglas Glenn in Nashville while Bill Anderson‘s account says that Tubb wrote part of the track. Whatever the case, the wordplay within, “I’ve got half a mind to leave you/But only half the heart to go,” has Miller written all over it. Tubb brought the song to the masses, and years later in 1965, Lynn covered the song for the first time for the B-side of her record, Songs From My Heart.
While it’s difficult to track down her ’60s recording without a record player, Lynn’s contribution to Miller’s tribute record has already been released to drum up even more excitement for the album coming out on August 31st through BMG. In addition to Lynn’s cover, King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller will also feature major stars like Dolly Parton with Alison Krauss performing “The Last Word in Lonesome is Me,” Ringo Starr covering “Hey, Would You Hold It Down?,” and one of the final recordings from Merle Haggard with Haggard, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson singing “Old Friends.”
Current country music fans will be happy to hear that contemporary country artists Kacey Musgraves takes on “Kansas City Star,” Brad Paisley sings “Dang Me” and Eric Church covers “Oo-De-Lally” on the two-disc tribute album, proving that Miller’s work is timeless.