"The Bluegrass Sessions" from Merle Haggard are coming
Thursday, May 17, 2007
– Country music icon Merle Haggard is going a different musical root and label with his next release. He will go the bluegrass root on "The Bluegrass Sessions" on Del McCoury's label, out Sept. 18.
The 12-song collection is comprised of 4 newly written songs by The Hag. Among the older Haggard songs are "Mama's Hungry Eyes," with Alison Krauss contributing vocals, "Big City" and "Holding Things Together."
Haggard received help from several big name performers as well. Marty Stuart played mandolin on the disc; Rob Ickes was on Dobro; Aubrey Haynie contributed fiddle, while Carl Jackson played guitar and sang two-part harmonies. Ronnie Reno produced the disc.
A label official said there has been talk about Haggard going on the road this fall to promote the disc. Those who played on the album could end up touring with him as well, although it was unclear how many of the musicians would be available.
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Read Merle Haggard's Wikipedia entry. It talks, in the second sentence, of his having helped create the Bakersfield sound, with its "rough edge." Later, it discusses, at some length, his conservative touchstones, in particular Okie From Muskogee. While, in Wikipedia fashion, that may capture the popular perception of the recent Kennedy Center honoree, it doesn't hit at the core of what made him, along with Willie Nelson and George Jones, one of country music's three most ...
It seems that the legendary country artists who survive to their later years, often make some of their best music during that time. It certainly was true with Johnny Cash and apparently Merle Haggard is primed to follow suit. The evidence of that is spread all over his new 12-song outing.
Haggard has gone introspective, but he has done it in such a way that most of the songs are easy for the listeners to apply to their own experiences. The opener, I've Seen It Go Away, is about losing the ...
The Strangers are a talented and extremely flexible band, as Haggard's mood can vary from showing off his rich singing voice on ballads to playing the jazzy guitar hero via Western swing material. Thus, it takes a multi-faceted combo, like The Strangers, to keep up with Haggard's many moods.
This disc collects 15 Haggard TV clips, and the man is definitely not lip synching his way through these performances. For instance, viewers can clearly hear The Hag clear his throat right before ...