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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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My Way CD review - My Way
Not one to rest on his laurels, Willie Nelson's second studio release of the calendar year finds the artist dipping back into the Great American Songbook. Previous collections, including 1978's stellar Stardust, 2009's "American Classic" and 2016's "Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin," established Nelson as one of the finest modern interpreters of American standards. So, it is only fitting that he now pays tribute to the man widely recognized as the »»»
Last Man Standing CD review - Last Man Standing
Willie Nelson is 123 years old and this is his 85th album. . No, that's not right, He's 85 and this is something like his 123rd album. At a certain point, the years and the numbers don't mean much any more. The bottom line is Willie Nelson has been around for a long time and made a lot of music. Willie will forever be remembered for the song "Whiskey River," but his voice has mellowed like a fine wine. Time has taken away much of the harshness and the off-flavors, if you will. »»»
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: Live, Shelley proves she's the real deal – After the concert, Joan Shelley was greeted by a fan at the near sold-out club who had never seen her before. The first timer told the Louisville, Ky.-based folk-oriented singer that she wanted to see for herself if Shelley's vocals were the real deal live. The fan walked away mighty impressed -based on her comments - and it was easy to see why.... »»»
Concert Review: There's a lot to be said about The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers have soldiered on, occupying the fringes of the musical world with ups and downs. After not knowing whether the group would even continue following the departure of half of the band a few years ago, The Felice Brothers continued with a new rhythm section and a new album, "Undressed," that is heavily political.... »»»
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