Like Engine Engine #9 coming down the railroad line, the long-awaited all-star homage to country legend Roger Miller is now within earshot.
Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss team up for a duet on Miller's "The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me," a heartstring-tugging ballad that was a No. 2 country hit for crooner Eddy Arnold in 1966.
And Brad Paisley has fun with Miller's first huge hit as a performer, the tongue-in-cheek "Dang Me," which topped the country charts and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.
The other artists contributing to "King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller" range from Ringo Starr ("Hey, Would You Hold It Down?") and Huey Lewis with Asleep at the Wheel ("Chug-a-Lug") to Loretta Lynn ("Half a Mind"), Emmylou Harris ("Husband and Wives," a duet with Jamey Johnson) and a trio of country outlaws, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard on "Old Friends."
A singer-songwriter whose wit and wisdom landed him in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Miller won 11 Grammy Awards in a career that began in 1964 and was cut short when he died of lung and throat cancer in 1992. Miller was 56. Miller also won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Score for "Big River," which was honored as the year's best musical.