Shine A Light: Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard would rather let his music do his talking and he is probably the smarter for it. Not because he isn’t a smart dude, he just doesn’t want to hear himself ramble on, and he probably remembers the old adage about opinions and how everyone has one!

So letting his music do the talking and it has done it quite well for close to 50 years !!! California born, Haggard had a rough go as a child. Losing his father at the age of 9, Merle turned to petty crime, which led finally to a 3 year stint in San Quentin. There he saw Johnny Cash 3 times and decided to turn his life around.

Merle Haggard’s first #1 in 1966 with I’m A Lonesome Fugitive” and three years later had one of the biggest hits of his entire career with “Okie From Muscogee”. in Merle’s words he was just trying to speak for some of the Americans that rarely had a voice. It’s a bit deceptive on the real spirit of the man. But make no mistake Merle Haggard is a patriot, and a seeker of truth. He doesn’t mind stepping on any toes to reach that truth.

I’m fond of Merle’s late 70’s to early 80’s period, with songs like “Kern River”, “Big City”, “Going Where The Lonely Go”, and of course “Poncho and Lefty” with his pal Willie Nelson.

Merle has had roughly 38 #1 hits. has toured endlessly, and worn his trials, victories and failures on his sleeve. If Haggard’s music is not familiar to you, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. He’s been called the “Poet of the common man”. An excellent writer and a voice that just drips truth.


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