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Merle Haggard goes to number one

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 – Merle Haggard racked up his highest first-week sales for a new release since 2000 following the Oct. 2 release of "The Bluegrass Sessions," which is number one on the bluegrass charts. The disc sold 2,865 units.

The Hag entered Billboard's Independent Albums chart at 34th and its Country Albums chart at 43rd.

Released on Del McCoury's McCoury Music label, Haggard's first-ever foray into bluegrass features a duet with Alison Krauss on his classic "Mama's Hungry Eyes." Joined by a cast of musicians (including Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin), the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded "The Bluegrass Sessions" in two days of intimate "living room style" sessions.

"Each take became a performance. Merle's singing was totally inspired," Stuart writes in the album's liner notes. "In fact, he got to the point where he didn't even go into the control room to listen to playbacks. There was no need. All of us knew what we were doing was right."

"The Bluegrass Sessions" features reworked Haggard classics (including "Big City"), several new songs and a few nods to bluegrass tradition, including a medley of Jimmie Rodgers songs and an album-ending take on the Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me").

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CD reviews for Merle Haggard

Working in Tennessee CD review - Working in Tennessee
Read Merle Haggard's Wikipedia entry. It talks, in the second sentence, of his having helped create the Bakersfield sound, with its "rough edge." Later, it discusses, at some length, his conservative touchstones, in particular Okie From Muskogee. While, in Wikipedia fashion, that may capture the popular perception of the recent Kennedy Center honoree, it doesn't hit at the core of what made him, along with Willie Nelson and George Jones, one of country music's three most »»»
I Am What I Am CD review - I Am What I Am
It seems that the legendary country artists who survive to their later years, often make some of their best music during that time. It certainly was true with Johnny Cash and apparently Merle Haggard is primed to follow suit. The evidence of that is spread all over his new 12-song outing. Haggard has gone introspective, but he has done it in such a way that most of the songs are easy for the listeners to apply to their own experiences. The opener, I've Seen It Go Away, is about losing the »»»
Legendary Performances DVD CD review - Legendary Performances DVD
The Strangers are a talented and extremely flexible band, as Haggard's mood can vary from showing off his rich singing voice on ballads to playing the jazzy guitar hero via Western swing material. Thus, it takes a multi-faceted combo, like The Strangers, to keep up with Haggard's many moods. This disc collects 15 Haggard TV clips, and the man is definitely not lip synching his way through these performances. For instance, viewers can clearly hear The Hag clear his throat right before »»»
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: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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