Merle Haggard goes to number one
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
– Merle Haggard racked up his highest first-week sales for a new release since 2000 following the Oct. 2 release of "The Bluegrass Sessions," which is number one on the bluegrass charts. The disc sold 2,865 units.
The Hag entered Billboard's Independent Albums chart at 34th and its Country Albums chart at 43rd.
Released on Del McCoury's McCoury Music label, Haggard's first-ever foray into bluegrass features a duet with Alison Krauss on his classic "Mama's Hungry Eyes." Joined by a cast of musicians (including Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin), the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded "The Bluegrass Sessions" in two days of intimate "living room style" sessions.
"Each take became a performance. Merle's singing was totally inspired," Stuart writes in the album's liner notes. "In fact, he got to the point where he didn't even go into the control room to listen to playbacks. There was no need. All of us knew what we were doing was right."
"The Bluegrass Sessions" features reworked Haggard classics (including "Big City"), several new songs and a few nods to bluegrass tradition, including a medley of Jimmie Rodgers songs and an album-ending take on the Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me").
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