Archive for the ‘Merle Haggard’ Category

Bob Wills and his original Texas Playboys and Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Thank you, Phil Weisman, for sending along this poster.

Willie Nelson’s on the bill; don’t understand the small print!

Artists gather to honor Merle Haggard in Nashville (April 7, 2017)

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

www.Rollingstone.com

Dozens of country and rock artists turned out Thursday night for “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” a salute to the country legend on the one-year anniversary of his death and what would have been his 80th birthday.

From Keith Richards’ heartfelt “Sing Me Back Home” to Miranda Lambert’s aching “Misery and Gin”

Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Kenny Chesney, John Mellencamp, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr. and Dierks Bentley were among the performers who interpreted songs from Haggard’s more than 50-year career at the concert in Nashville.

Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert, especially, delivered moving tributes. Nelson sang “Reasons to Quit” with the Rolling Stones guitarist, and then duetted with Kenny Chesney on “Pancho & Lefty,” while Lambert turned in a devastating rendition of “Misery & Gin.”

The concert was filmed for broadcast on a network and date to be announced.

Here’s the set list to “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard”:

Ben Haggard & the Strangers – “What Am I Gonna Do”
Ben Haggard, Aaron Lewis & the Strangers – “Heaven Was a Drink of Wine”
Tanya Tucker & the Strangers – “Farmer’s Daughter”
Bobby Bare & the Strangers – “The Fugitive”
Connie Smith & the Strangers – “That’s the Way Love Goes”
John Anderson & the Strangers – “Big City”
Toby Keith & the Strangers – “Carolyn/Daddy Frank”
Jake Owen and Chris Janson – “Footlights”
Miranda Lambert – “Misery & Gin”
Rodney Crowell – “You Don’t Have Very Far to Go”
Jamey Johnson – “Kern River”
Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss – “If I Could Only Fly”
Alison Krauss – “Sing a Sad Song”
Alabama – “Silver Wings”
Hank Williams Jr. – “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”
Loretta Lynn – “Today I Started Loving You”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Honky Tonk Nighttime Man”
The Avett Brothers – “Mama Tried”
John Mellencamp – “White Line Fever”
Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow Stew”
Ronnie Dunn – “It’s All in the Movies”
Billy Gibbons – “The Bottle Let Me Down”
Warren Haynes and Billy Gibbons – “Workin’ Man Blues”
Dierks Bentley – “If We Make It Through December”
Lucinda Williams – “Going Where the Lonely Go”
Sheryl Crow – “Natural High”
Keith Richards – “Sing Me Back Home”
Keith Richards and Willie Nelson – “Reasons to Quit”
Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney – “Pancho and Lefty”
Willie Nelson and Toby Keith – “Ramblin’ Fever”
Willie Nelson and cast – “Okie From Muskogee”

Happy birthday, Merle Haggard

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

We still miss Merle Haggard, born April 6, 1937, in Bakersfield, California.

Legends of the Road: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, in concert (April 4, 2015)

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

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Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson
WinStar World Casino and Resort
Sat Apr 4, 2015

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

A Half-Century of HonkyTonk (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard)

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

 

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard” that just would have been easy business. And, put in terms of copyright and back catalog, it would have been a follow-through on “Pancho and Lefty,”  the hit record they made together almost 25 years ago. But to triangulate them with Ray Price, as the new record “Last of the Breed” does, is to structure a summit meeting on honky-tonk singing.

Photographs by Michael Falco for The New York Times

The three singers are connected by lots of small sum items  like the fact that Mr. Nelson used to be Mr. Price’s bass player  but also in one big way. They are all magnetized toward the sound of Bob Will’s Texas swing. Mr. Haggard, for his part, seems drawn to the kind of front man Wills was: a sporadic fiddle player, spontaneous organizer of arrangements and agent of the unpredictable. Mr. Price, for his part, long ago adapted Will’s twin-fiddle breaks, folding them into nearly all his honky-tonk hits of the 1950s and ’60s. As for Mr. Nelson, a Texan, a country singer and an improviser, Wills is part of his light and air.

“Last of the Breed” came out last week on Lost Highway Records. The inevitable short and gentlemanly tour that followed.  Mr. Price is 81, Mr. Haggard 69, Mr. Nelson 73  would naturally be the live version of the record. Right? There are 22 songs on the album, from the repertory of their favorite 40s and 50s country songwriters. Wouldn’t it be enough to take that and round it off with some extras? Sure. But what happened at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday was infinitely better.

The beginning of the show was Mr. Price’s, and he played a half-hour set with his backup band, the Cherokee Cowboys. In a gray suit and red tie and moving with slow grace, he sang in his latter-day vocal style over his early-days music. The music was ironbound, honky-tonk shuffles with a steel guitar and twin fiddles; that vocal style was a crisp baritone that never bent notes, ennobling every phrase of “Crazy Arms” or”I Won’t Mention It Again” or “The Other Woman (in My Life), making the deadbeats and emotional anarchists in the songs like stand-up guys.

After a pause Mr. Haggard appeared, with the Western-swing band Asleep at the Wheel as his backup. He looked itchy and inscrutable. He picked up his fiddle, and things got deep very quickly. He ordered up “Take Me Back to Tulsa” singing in his relaxed, froggy voice, picking the order of soloists, and the band heated up in the out-chorus. They played an old public-domain blues, still warming up the fingers. Then began about 45 minutes of music that represented the best of what you can get, on the best of nights, from experienced, ornery types.

Song after song, with endless differences in the shadings and rhythms of his vocal phrasing, and with modest, clear-minded guitar solos, Mr. Haggard made copyright a dead issue. He used his restlessness to melt down his hits, to undo them and turn them back into process and possibility. He worked within the changing spaces of a flexible band; he sang the first verse of “Sing Me Back Home” by himself. He smuggled the line “Honey, don’t worry about what George Bush does” into the lyrics of “That’s the Way Love Goes”; he ordered solos in “Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”; he engaged Mickey Raphael, the harmonica player from Mr. Nelson’s band, who played short solos and obbligatos as if he were another guitarist.

Mr. Nelson arrived, smiley but wearing a similar inscrutability, and together the two continued the weird work that Mr. Haggard had begun.

“Pancho and Lefty” was served in a businesslike way. But then came “Ramblin’ Fever” with a slashing solo from Mr. Nelson’s heavily distressed guitar, and the demonstration of both singers lethal, discussion-ending baritone voices. Cleaning off the table before dessert, Freddie Powers, an excellent soft-tenor Texas singer who has worked with both Mr. Nelson and Mr. Haggard, sang “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.”

Mr. Price reappeared for a few songs from the record, including two from the great ark of Wills (“Roly Poly” and “Please Don’t Leave Me Any More Darlin’ and a rising-to-the-occasion version of “Night Life” in which he and the band slowly surged to a thundering final chorus. This was a more orderly part of the show: elegant, old school, moving.

The evening finally turned into the hero-worship stage, with Mr. Nelson taking over. You probably know the coordinates: amiable-vagabond music (“Whiskey River” and “On the Road Again”) and a funny new song called “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore.” It was all better than good. But that delicate, tenebrous, alchemical middle section of the concert: that was something else, something unknowable.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Missing Ole Johnny Cash”

Friday, January 11th, 2019

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

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Merle Haggard – Willie Nelson – Johnny Paycheck – The Anaheim Stadium Concert (October 1980)

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in Roanoke, VA (Oct. 19, 2018)

Friday, October 19th, 2018

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photo by:  Erica Yoon

On October 19, 2015, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performed at the Berglund Center Coliseum.  Their album Django and Jimmie was No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart that year. The two last had a No. 1 album together in 1983 with Pancho & Lefty.

Willie Nelson, “He Won’t Ever Be Gone”

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

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photo:  Janis Tillerson

This day in Willie Nelson history, “Poncho and Lefty” is #1 (July 23, 1983)

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

On July 23, 1983, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s recording of “Pancho And Lefty” moved to number one on the Billboard country chart.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard on the Fourth of July (2015)

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

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photos: Janis Tillerson

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

In the Studio w/ Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard ‘Django and Jimmie

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018