Loretta Lynn suffered some health setbacks this year and last, but the legendary country singer and songwriter sounds sharp on “Half a Mind,” her contribution to an upcoming tribute album to arch, often goofy country-pop legend Roger Miller called King of the Road. Out August 31 on BMG, the sprawling LP includes high profile contributions from country power players new and old: Brad Paisley, Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, allegedly in one of his last recordings. Stranger guests include Ringo Starr, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and (yes) actor John Goodman, who once co-starred as Pap in Miller’s ’80s Mark Twain pastiche musical Big River.
Lynn’s performance of a more serious Miller composition milks every possibility out of the clever source text; lines like “Maybe time will prove that you’re not to blame/But now’s the time l need to know” prove the lyrical prowess that characterizes Miller’s best music. Listen to Lynn’s “Half a Mind” below.