The Okie from Muskogee. Rednecks. Truckers. America – Love it or leave it. I always thought he was the enemy. It turns out neither of us was. Bob would say, “We just saw it from a different point of view.” But everyone has a story and, with age, those stories, while different as night and day, somehow bring us together in an understanding that life ain’t easy (so doggone easy). No matter what and no matter who you are.
A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today
Merle Haggard, along with Buck Owens, created The Bakersfield Sound – a sound based on a lot of Fender Telecaster and pedal steel guitar. He was a child of the depression (the depression of the 1930s, not the present one). He and his family were refugees from Oklahoma. He was literally born in a boxcar. He was a troubled youth, as we like to say. Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied, that leaves only me to blame, ’cause Mama tried.
Struggling and in jail, he saw Johnny Cash and joined the prison country band. When he got out, he was befriended by Lefty Frizell and began to turn his life from wildness to music. Starting in the late 50s, Merle Haggard moved forward and took his music with him. Working songs, drinking songs, love songs. He’s had over 40 #1 hits, traveled a lot of ground, and is still playing today.
He’s a guy who takes the stage and delivers his songs full of history, character, and truth. He’s not messing around. He’s the real deal.