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Merle Haggard



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Merle Haggard calls his latest album "Haggard Like Never Before," but he's not slowing down, nor has he completely tamed his well-publicized fighting side. Let's face it: far too many artists put it into autopilot, so to speak, once they reach their twilight years. But Haggard clearly never got that cautionary little memo; he's still adding to his legacy by writing and recording new songs and not nearly ready to stop and rest on his laurels. With this in mind, the "Haggard" in his album title should be read as a noun, not an adjective.  ...
The past year has easily been one of the most prolific of Merle Haggard's long career. The release of last year's critically acclaimed "If I Could Only Fly" on the L.A.-based Anti/Epitaph label was accompanied by a number of self-released projects, including "Cabin In the Hills" (a gospel album), "Two Old Friends" (an album of duets with Albert Brumley Jr., son of the famous gospel composer) and "California Blend," a more recent collaboration with old friend Chester Smith.  ...
The Hag flies high (Oct 2000)
"Leaving's getting harder all the time, staying home hangs heavy on my mind," Merle Haggard sings on his new album, "If I Could Only Fly" (Anti Records). Still, the song continues, "If I don't travel, I don't make a dime," and so the legendary singer and songwriter is aboard his bus once again, on his way to Nashville at the start of yet another two-week tour. "I really have never quit," the 63-year-old Haggard notes. "I do about half the possible time on the road. We'll be out here about  ...
He's one of the all-time greatest country music performers and songwriters, but Merle Haggard has kept a pretty low profile the past few years. That's all changed in recent months. The release of "For The Record," a double CD featuring new recordings of 43 of his biggest hits, called attention to itself by including duets with hot acts like Jewel and Alabama. A pay-per-view special from Las Vegas garnered more attention. And Hag's second autobiography is being released. "It was all planned at a meeting in January to stimulate the buying base of Merle Haggard," says the Hag. "It's the cross-grid marketing of today."  ...

Editorials and Country Musings

This column is being written during the first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency, in a weird national mixture of hope and fear, the likes of which haven't been since the days of the great D-word back in the 1930's. All of which makes me want to write another political column. And that series of loud sounds you just heard? That was editor Jeff Remz bursting a blood vessel, banging his fist on his desk and shouting "Over my dead body!" Don't worry, Jeff; I'm tempted, but I'm not going to wax political. I know how divisive politics are these days, and I don't want to alienate any readers.  ...
Time isn't on my side (Dec 2006)
I should know better by now. In fact, I do know better. I know they're lying when they try to lure me in, promising it'll be different this time. I'm completely onto their game. But somehow or other I fall for it time and again. No, I'm not talking about Sarah Evans inviting my wife and me over for another "quiet, wholesome" evening at home. I'm talking about those damn lists that media people love to make, especially at this time of year. The latest one to roil my blood pressure is Time  ...

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