Merle Haggard - The Peer Sessions
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The Peer Sessions (Audium, 2002)

Merle Haggard

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

Recorded in the late '90s after having left Curb Records, Merle Haggard's latest finds him paying tribute to the Ralph Peer publishing catalog (generally referred to as peermusic in the liner notes).

A one-off release for Haggard through Audium, this is a worthwhile companion to last year's "Roots, Vol. 1," with the singer paying tribute again to the artists who inspired him as a young man; nostalgia being a common theme in several of his releases over the past few years. No one's ever had to twist Merle Haggard's arm to get him to play a Jimmie Rodgers song, and this is no exception, with 4 of the 12 songs either written by or associated with Rodgers. Another 4 numbers are penned by Gov. Jimmie Davis, who also duets (at the age of 97 and sounding surprisingly spry) with Haggard on "Hang On to the Memories." The remaining selection includes versions of Floyd Tillman's "I Love You So Much It Hurts" and the Tommy Duncan-penned Bob Wills perennial "Time Changes Everything," among others.

Haggard is in fine form throughout, if perhaps more subdued than on his previous recordings of some of these same songs; the sound of an artist singing for himself after all of the customers have gone home and the staff is sweeping up.

CDs by Merle Haggard

Working in Tennessee, 2011 I Am What I Am, 2010 Legendary Performances DVD, 2008 The Bluegrass Sessions, 2007 Hag/Someday We'll Look Back, 2006 I'm A Lonesome Fugitive/Branded Man, 2006 Mama Tried/Pride In What I Am, 2006 Sing Me Back Home/The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde, 2006 Strangers/Swinging Doors And The Bottle Let Me Down, 2006 Chicago Wind, 2005

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