Miranda Lambert played the second of two nights at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater on Wednesday night, bringing the U.S. portion of the Highway Vagabond tour to a finish for the moment while she heads overseas. Fellow Texas singer-songwriters Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers were on the bill supporting her, and the trio reconvened during Lambert’s set to perform a sterling cover of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.”
“I met these guys when I was 17 and we were playing any shitty gig we could find to play together,” says Lambert, introducing Bowen and Rogers. “So it’s a really cool thing to get to celebrate this night together with y’all.”
Written by Haggard and released in 1967, “Sing Me Back Home” pictures a prisoner whose death sentence is imminent, making one final request for a song that reminds him of life before the events that led him to jail. In the biography Merle Haggard: The Running Kind, critic David Cantwell points out that “Sing Me Back Home” “unfolds like a dream you somehow understand everyone else is having, too, like a folk song that seems always to have been there. No one teaches you the words. You fall in and sing along.”
And so the crowd does at Red Rocks for Lambert, Bowen and Rogers’ cover, cheering wildly while Bowen and Lambert split the first verse and Rogers solemnly strums his acoustic guitar, then finding a note that will work for the chorus when all three voices join together. It’s a potent reminder of Lambert’s roots in the Texas songwriting community as well as a fond tribute to both Haggard and Glen Campbell, who played acoustic guitar on the original.