Merle Haggard, the working man’s poet, an architect of the Bakersfield Sound, and a fiercely independent artist who influenced country music like few others, died Wednesday in California. He had just turned 79 years old.
I love Mama Tried (“I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole”) and Pancho & Lefty, a duet with Willie Nelson. Haggard recorded 40 number one country hits during his career.
I saw Merle perform in Hirsch Coliseum, and it was a great concert. I am genuinely sad.