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Country performers pay homage to The Hag

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 – Willie Nelson epitomized the feeling from the country community on Wednesday about the loss of the Merle Haggard, who died earlier in the day at 79 following complications from pneumonia.

"He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him," said Nelson in a post on his web site. Nelson had a long association with The Hag, recording the recent CD "Django and Jimmie" together.

The reaction was immediate from many of today's performers. Eric Church recorded a song called "Pledge Allegiance to the Hag." Church posted lyrics to the song on his Facebook page: "They say country's fading / But just keep waving that flag around here / And I know it'll keep on coming back As long as people pledge allegiance / Where folks still pledge allegiance /I pledge allegiance to the Hag" followed by "Rest in peace."

Church typically performs the song in concert.

Hank Williams Jr. said in a statement, "Merle Haggard was an original. Not just a singer, not just a songwriter, not just another famous performer. He was your common everyday working man. I remember when I was 15 years old on tour with Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. They both were wondering which one of the two was going to make it. Well, they both made it. Today, ole Merle joined Waylon, George, and daddy to sing in the Heavenly choir."

Nancy Jones, widow of George, said, "George and I loved Merle so much. George would always say nobody could ever sing like Merle Haggard. Merle was one of our Country Heroes. Now, George and Merle are together again singing with the Angel Band."

Toby Keith posted on his Facebook page, "The greatest singer songwriter of my lifetime is gone. Thanks for the music and friendship. R.I.P. Hag."

Dwight Yoakam, who shared the Bakersfield Sound with which Haggard was a key player, said on his Facebook page, "Nothing to say... just listen... " He posted a video of Haggard singing "Silver Wings" on his page.

Gary Allan said, "Merle was my all-time hero. Today we lost one of the greatest songwriters of country music and I will always regret not recording with him. He was a legend and I was honored whenever we got the chance to share a stage with him. Thank you for the inspiration, the advice and for always being you. I, as well as the entire music community, will miss you Merle."

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The Bus Songs CD review - The Bus Songs
People of a certain age can recall a time in America when a polyester-clad party host would reward late-night diehards with a "blue" record. These vinyl gems (or bootleg tapes) would be funny and frank, both in their language and adult subject matter. They paired well with alcohol, and just owning them could make someone a little cooler by association. Such a concept might mystify millennials who can punch up any song they imagine. But Toby Keith remembers. This collection of »»»
Live from Austin, TX; CD review - Live from Austin, TX;
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Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Cantrell continues to satisfy – Laura Cantrell may never be a country star. Not at this stage of her career when she's 50, touring here and there and releasing new music every few years or so. But five albums in, Cantrell continues as a warm, enjoyable and worthy purveyor of her brand of country. That would mean going towards a more traditional side, not rushing the songs... »»»
Concert Review: Not only is Turner traditional, he's popular – Every time Josh Turner reached for some of those wonderful subterranean low notes, which he often pulled out during his enjoyable night show, it was like a superhero applying a superpower. He didn't need this extra advantage to please his audience; he has so many quality songs stockpiled in his catalogue already doing the job.... »»»
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