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MerleHaggard.com

Merle Haggard

If the question were asked, “Who forged the genre that is known today as ‘modern country music’?,” only a tiny group of country immortals could step forward to share the spotlight.  One, out of that select handful, would be Merle Haggard.  Merle wasn’t in the delivery room on the morning country music was born; it simply seems like he was.  And you won’t hear anybody refer to him as the father of country music.  But many will swear he’s at least its godfather.

Singer, songwriter, remarkable musician, bandleader and historian, Haggard may well be the most well-rounded country talent ever to take the stage in front of a microphone or an audience.  Over his career, he has been the pulse of an ever-lonesome fugitive, in desperate flight from the prison walls of mediocrity.  His has been the voice of the Okie with an attitude, fueled by a well-stoked fire of unflinching convictions and bone-deep beliefs.  In his music he has hung his soul out on the line, baring himself in those songs clawed out of the soil and bonded together with grit and spit.  As a result, that music is not only resounded in such typical entertainment channels as radio, records and concert dates, but has also been integrated into the university classroom setting where students examine the sociological implications of his works.
 
His accomplishments would lead some to sum him up with a catchall cliché like “legend,” but legends are about the past, about those who are about to be swept off into some dusty corner record bin somewhere.  Haggard can’t be pinpointed in the past.  And he won’t be found rockin’ and whittlin’ with a shoebox full of yesterday’s memories.  His music speaks to country audiences today, while his mind and talents flirt with a new millennium.
 
Merle Haggard’s not just a legend with a P O box in once-upon-a-time; he’s a permanent condition of country music’s soul.

 



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