Archive for the ‘Merle Haggard’ Category

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Django and Jimmie”

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


photos:  Benford Stanley

Sound check and a show on the historic Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard Django and Jimmie tour to honor Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers.


Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, “Pancho and Lefty” (New Braunfels, Tx) (3/27/15)

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, “Don’t Think Twice (it’s all right)”

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in Green Bay (Oct. 25, 20150

Monday, October 26th, 2015


photo:  Mike Peters
by:  Kendra Meinert

It played out as legendary on stage as it looked printed on the ticket: “Willie Nelson together in concert with Merle Haggard.”

The pair of American icons — the one in braids, 82, and and the one in shades, 78 — brought more than a century of combined country music to the Resch Center Theatre on Sunday night for a master class in how it’s done, old-school and outlaw.

photo by:  Mike Peters

That meant Haggard sent “The Bottle Let Me Down” out to “all the female drunks in the house,” and included himself when he said, “This next number is for all the ex-convicts here …” before giving rugged voice to “Sing Me Back Home,” his beautifully sad 1967 eulogy to a fellow San Quentin inmate.

The Hag has done time, and Nelson has done weed, and both came up during an evening in which the two longtime friends and collaborators effortlessly wandered in and out of each other’s 70-minute sets to the giddy delight of a sold-out crowd of 5,733.

“Our next song is about marijuana. I don’t know much about it, but I know someone who does,” Haggard said, as he and Nelson did “Okie From Muskogee” with its well-known opening line: “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” It turned into an audience sing-along. Seeing two classics sing a classic, well, that felt a little like the country music equivalent of just witnessing a double rainbow. You never know whether you’ll see another.

Country music legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard,

They sang four songs together, including the title track and “Reasons to Quit” off their 1983 hit duets album “Pancho & Lefty” as well as the cheeky “It’s All Going to Pot” from this year’s joint album, “Django and Jimmie.” They’re kindred musical spirits for sure, and those performances with side-by-side, laid-back legends were some of the best of the night.

Haggard returned after his set to join Nelson for more than half of his set as a guitar player, happy to blend in with the rest of the band but still looking like the coolest guy in the room.

The concert was a contrast in bands.


Haggard, whose music leans more honky tonk, was backed by The Strangers, a nine-piece band he said has been on the payroll since 1965 (when Lyndon B. Johnson was president, by the way). Two of his sons, Noel on backup vocals and Ben on lead guitar — from different “litters” as they joked during a three-song opening set — and his wife, Theresa, are in the band. Sax player Renato Caranto was the difference maker on “Silver Wings” and a smokin’ “Workin’ Man Blues,” and the prominence of pedal steel gave the music its old-time sound.

As tight as the band was, it was welcome when it stepped aside and let Haggard’s vocals handily carry “The Way I Am.” He looked to be having the most fun of the night when he grabbed the fiddle for a free-wheeling “Take Me Back to Tulsa” that brought the crowd to its feet.

Nelson, by contrast, was backed by just five musicians, for a free-ranging, sometimes offbeat and always adventurous set of country, jazz and blues, all stamped by the voice that has made him an American treasure. Nobody else sounds like Willie, whether he’s doing “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” like he’s telling a story around a campfire or a fast, stark version of “Beer for My Horses” that made it nearly unrecognizable from the slick radio hit it was with Toby Keith.


Trigger, his trusty, tattered guitar since 1969, grabbed the spotlight for “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” — a reminder that Nelson’s artistry is as much about his guitar playing as his singing and songwriting, He traveled quickly from song to song, foregoing any chit-chat, to fit in 22 of them, name-dropping works from Tom T. Hall, Hank Williams and Billy Joe Shaver.

By night’s end, several of his signature red bandanas tossed to the crowd, it was the more the merrier on stage. Haggard was still playing guitar, and several of The Strangers joined the joyous, gospel send-off of “I’ll Fly Away” and “I Saw the Light,” with Nelson prompting the crowd to clap along.

The songs will go on forever, but that indelible image of Haggard and Nelson together onstage playing them, that’s a Green Bay memory that might not come around again. and follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

See more great photos:

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard in Milwaukee (SOLD OUT)

Sunday, October 25th, 2015
Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson performing at the Milwaukee Theater. Milwaukee, WI. October 24th, 2015. All photos by Benjamin Wick.

Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson performing at the Milwaukee Theater. Milwaukee, WI. October 24th, 2015. All photos by Benjamin Wick.

Here are more of his great photos:

photos:  Benjamin Wick
by:  Piet Levy

There’s a mathematical formula for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s sold-out Milwaukee Theatre show Saturday night: 2 + 41 = 1.

No, I’m not stoned out of my mind on Nelson’s favorite wacky tabacky.

Saturday, you had two country music legends sharing the bill, and for long stretches the stage. Nelson may be 82, Haggard 78, but the longtime friends (and, arguably, musical soul mates) performed together and separately with the same gravitas and spark that will immortalize their legacies.

With their sets combined, they touched on 41 songs, hits and classics from “Big City” to “Mama Tried” to “Crazy” to “On the Road Again.”

And when you add everything up, you had one of the best concerts of the year.

Saturday marked one of Nelson’s first shows after canceling a few gigs due to illness, and he seemed completely rejuvenated. The “Still” solo was rugged yet stunning–thick and twangy one second, fast and nimble the next, like a flamenco dancer–expressed with the same significance as the oxygen Nelson deeply inhaled whenever he let loose. His blues solo on “Night Life,” a memorable moment from that last Milwaukee show, was even rowdier, before Nelson put a bow on it with the melody from “Jingle Bells.” And even with a subdued five-piece behind him–including younger sis Bobbie on piano, and the night’s MVP, harmonica player Mickey Raphael–“Beer for My Horses,” Nelson’s singalong with Toby Keith, was crafted with the same exotic flourishes you might expect from a bold microbrew.

And while the set’s fast pace felt rushed last time, Saturday, it was breathless and exhilarating, largely because Nelson played with such passion, and consistently sang with tenderness and warmth. It was as if he was challenging the crowd to keep up, running through 24 songs in 70 minutes without losing an emotional beat, from the thick-as-thieves staple “Me and Paul” (with its funny little reference to Milwaukee); to the aching “Always on My Mind;” to back-to-back spirituals “I’ll Fly Away” and “I Saw the Light” that saw scores of people dancing like giddy fools in the aisles.

And to think, this was all preceded by Haggard’s own exceptional 70-minute set. At nine people, his band was nearly twice the size of Nelson’s, and included a fiddle, steel guitar and saxophone. But the polish never overshadowed Haggard’s grit. His guitar work on “Silver Wings” may have been choppy, but it was the right kind of woozy on “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” He was appropriately somber for “If I Could Only Fly”–and the band appropriately reserved–but his deadpan delivery on “Are the Good Times Really Over” made the 33-year-old punchlines funny and fresh. And for a riotous cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Haggard embraced the words “Just to watch him die” with delicious, devilish glee the Man in Black would most certainly admire.

Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson performing at the Milwaukee Theater. Milwaukee, WI. October 24th, 2015. All photos by Benjamin Wick.

Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson performing at the Milwaukee Theater. Milwaukee, WI. October 24th, 2015. All photos by Benjamin Wick.

But the best parts of the night were when Nelson and Haggard were side by side. For the last 10 songs of Nelson’s closing set, Haggard was a welcomed member of the band; the highlight being some boogie woogie backing on electric guitar during “Move It On Over.” Then for the last five songs of Haggard’s set, the men were proper duet partners. It didn’t matter much that Nelson forgot some words during a jazzy “Pancho and Lefty;” the friends were clearly having fun together, whether it was Nelson hilariously dismissing marijuana and long hair on Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee,” or the pair grinning through the cheeky “It’s All Going to Pot,” their single from this year’s collaborative album “Django and Jimmie.”

And it may all be going to pot, but these two definitely aren’t.

Find out about the week’s must-see shows, concert tickets and more in the newsletter “Piet Levy’s Music Picks.” Subscribe at

Piet talks about concerts, local music and more on “TAP’d In” with Jordan Lee, 8 a.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9).


?The audience was truly all ages, from eighty-somethings to a boy who looked to be eight front and center, wearing a red bandanna like Nelson, frequently singing along and cheering and bouncing like he was at a Packers game. Nelson naturally noticed the boy, looking him in the eye as he sang some songs, and tossing him his own bandanna during a cover of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On the Bayou).”

?That boy wasn’t the only one who got a special souvenir; Nelson stayed behind for five minutes after the show to shake hands and sign countless autographs.

?It felt like practically every single person in the 4,000-capacity Milwaukee Theatre wandered up near the stage to take a picture. Nelson didn’t seem to mind, frequently nodding toward smartphone-packing fans, and even security helped some kneeling amateur photogs back up to their feet.

?Bobbie Nelson wasn’t the only relative on stage. Haggard was backed by youngest son Ben Haggard–a talented guitarist in his own right. Second-born Noel Haggard sang lead for the first two songs and backing vocals for his father, and Haggard’s wife Theresa sang backing vocals too, and sang alongside Nelson’s daughter Amy at the end.

?Best merch item: Willie Nelson for President posters. (Take that Trump, and Kanye)



1. “Dealing with the devil”

2. “Bad News”


1. “Big City”

2. “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star”

3. “Silver Wings”

4. “Folsom Prison Blues”

5. “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”

6. “If I Could Only Fly”

7. “Mama Tried”

8. “If We Make It Through December”

9. “Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)”

10. “Footlights”

11. “That’s The Way Love Goes”

12. “Working Man Blues”

13. “Milk Cow Blues” (with Willie Nelson, on stage for the rest of the set)

14. “It’s All Going to Pot”

15. “Reasons to Quit”

16. “Pancho and Lefty”

17. “Okie from Muskogee”


1. “Whiskey River”

2. “Still is Still Moving to Me”

3. “Beer for My Horses”

4. “Good Hearted Woman”

5. “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”

6. “Funny How Time Slips Away”

7. “Crazy”

8. “Night Life”

9. “Down Yonder” (instrumental led by Bobbie Nelson)

10. “Me and Paul”

11. “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time”

12. “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”

13. “On the Road Again”

14. “Always on My Mind”

15. “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”

16. “Hey, Good Lookin'”

17. “Move It On Over”

18. “Georgia On My Mind”

19. “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train”

20. “Shoeshine Man”

21. “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”

22. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”

23. “I’ll Fly Away”

24. “I Saw the Light”

About Piet Levy

author thumbnailPiet Levy covers music for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and For more music updates, you can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram?.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard nominated for CMA Musical Event of the Year

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

“One of the strongest, most engaging country albums of 2015.” – The Wall Street Journal

‘Django and Jimmie’ by Willie and Merle Haggard is nominated for a CMA Country Music Association Award for Musical Event of the Year, on Wednesday, November 4th.

See Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in Detroit TONIGHT!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015


Iconic Texas singer-songwriter, Willie Nelson and country music legend, Merle Haggard announced a performance at the Fox Theatre tonight, October 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets ($49, $69, $79 and $129) go on sale Saturday,September 12 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.

Willie Nelson has earned a permanent position in pop music’s pantheon with unforgettable songs that combine the sophistication of Tin Pan Alley with the rough-and-tumble grit and emotional honesty of country music. His six-decade-spanning catalog includes more than 60 studio albums in addition to live recordings, soundtracks, collaborations with other artists and more. A songwriter of rare and precise elegance, Willie brought the worlds of pop and country together on the radio in the early 1960s penning evergreen classics like “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Hello Walls” (Faron Young), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Billy Walker), “Night Life” (Ray Price) and others. By the mid-1970s, Willie Nelson had become an indelible superstar in his own right, as prime mover of a revolutionary and thriving outlaw country music scene.

Merle Haggard was immediately embraced by country fans and has earned the respect of his peers throughout his storied career. In addition to the 40 #1 hits, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. He’s won awards both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His body of work easily places him beside Hank Williams as one of the most influential artists in country music.

Nelson and Haggard’s recent record, Django and Jimmie, was the follow-up project to their 1983 release, Pancho & Lefty. It features 14 joint studio recordings from the legends, including the cheeky “It’s All Going to Pot” and “Alice in Hulaland.”

Willie Nelson & Family in Concert TONIGHT! with Merle Haggard in Roanoke, VA (10/19/15)

Monday, October 19th, 2015


Willie Nelson has already started making up the few shows he missed, owing to taking a few extra days off before resuming his never-ending-tour.  Willie Nelson and Family, and Merle Haggard, will play at the Berglund Center Coliseum in Roanoke, VA tonight — rescheduled from October 16th.

Willie Nelson, Kris Kristoffeson, Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton, 2014 Grammy Awards

Monday, October 19th, 2015

by:  Hawk Chevy

During the 2014 Grammy Awards, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson started off the performance singing “Highwayman”. Merle soon appeared, followed by Blake Shelton to sing Merle’s famous “Okie From Muskogee”. The top it all off, they finished up by performing “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”.

It’s obvious the audience is enjoying the performance because everyone is singing along with smiling faces, not to mention the men got a standing ovation.

Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton, (Grammy Awards 2014)

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “It’s All Going to Pot”

Sunday, October 11th, 2015





Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Django and Jimmie

  1. 1. Django and Jimmie – written by Jimmy Melton and Jeff Prince
  2. 2. It’s All Going To Pot – written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson and Larry Shell
  3. 3. Unfair Weather Friend – written by Marla Cannon-Goodman and Ward Davis
  4. 4. Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash – written by Merle Haggard
  5. 5. Live This Long – written by Shawn Camp and Marv Green
  6. 6. Alice In Hulaland – written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
  7. 7. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – written by Bob Dylan
  8. 8. Family Bible – written by Walter M. Breeland, Paul F. Buskirk, and Claude Gray
  9. 9. It’s Only Money – written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
  10. 10. Swinging Doors – written by Merle Haggard
  11. 11. Where Dreams Come To Die – written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
  12. 12. Somewhere Between – written by Merle Haggard
  13. 13. Driving The Herd – written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
  14. 14. The Only Man Wilder Than Me – written by Merle Haggard

This Day in Willie Nelson History: Merle Haggard & George Jone’s “Yesterday’s Wine” is #1 on Billboard (10/9/1982)

Friday, October 9th, 2015

On October 9, 1982, Merle Haggard & George Jones recording of Willie Nelson’s, “Yesterday’s Wine,” to #1 on the Billboard country chart.

Vote for Willie & Merle

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard - Django and Jimmie
Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard – Django and Jimmie
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s new outlaw country masterpiece has been garnering rave review alongside its burgeoning popular success.
According to NPR, “…nearly any track on  Django and Jimmie will likely lift the spirits of even the gloomiest listener,” while American Songwriter noted that “…it’s still a joy to hear the two of them trade vocals on a thoroughly enjoyable set of 14 songs.”
Rolling Stone called out the album’s single, “It’s All Going To Pot,” as “…two masters nailing the right song at the right time.”
Yahoo! summed up  Django and Jimmie as “…remarkable…” while the Los Angeles Times observed that while “…both men are widely regarded as two of the greatest living country songwriters, whose music has shaped the sound of the genre for six decades…. it’s the spirit of their voices that registers.”
“Veracity makes  Django and Jimmie a marvel,” wrote Paste, “mixing novelty, pathos and classics. What emerges is a core sample of what made these men…endure for half a century…. Just hearing them make the music they want is plenty.”
Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard - Making of Django and Jimmie
Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard – Making of Django and Jimmie
* * * * *
For More Information contact:
Elaine Schock at SHOCK INK,,  818.932.0001
Tom Cording at Legacy Media Relations, 212.833.4448,
Tresa Redburn at DEPT 56, 818.702.6253
Maria C. Malta at Legacy Media Relations, 212.833.6511
Gabby Gibb at Legacy Media Relations, 212.833.4597
 #  #  #

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard announce Fall Tour

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

By Staff

Country Legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard released their album Django and Jimmie in June of this year, and now the two will hit the road together.

Django & Jimmie marks the duo’s six collaborative album; it’s a tribute to early country music legend Jimmie Rodgers and to guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt.

The short run of dates begins mid October in South Carolina, with a bonus gig in Forth Worth to close things out in November.

Before the tour kicks off Nelson headlined the 30th edition Farm Aid on September 19th in Chicago along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, andKacey Musgraves.

Full dates below:

10/15 – Florence, SC @ Florence Civic Center
10/16 – Roanoke, VA @ Berglund Center Coliseum
10/17 – Reading, PA @ Santander Arena
10/21 – Bloomington, IN @ TBA
10/23 – Pikeville, KY @ Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
10/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Milwaukee Theatre
10/25 – Green Bay, WI @ Theatre at the Resch Center
11/28 – Fort Worth, TX @ Billy Bob’s Texas

See Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in Detroit (Oct. 20, 2015)

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

by:  Edward Pevos

DETROIT, MI – Two living legends will be on the same stage, on the same night in Detroit. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are set to perform together at the Fox Theatre.

Willie Nelson’s career spans six decades. He has more than 60 studio albums in addition to live recordings, soundtracks, collaborations with other artists and more.

Merle Haggard has 40 #1 hits to his name. He’s won awards both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Nelson and Haggard’s recent album, “Django and Jimmie,” was the follow-up project to their 1983 release, “Pancho & Lefty.” It features 14 joint studio recordings from the two.

The concert:
You can see Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard at the Fox Theatre in Downtown Detroit on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 7:30pm.

Tickets ($49, $69, $79 and $129) go on sale Saturday, September 12 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.

Edward Pevos is the Mlive entertainment reporter for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter @PaparazzoPevos