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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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While Eric Church has set the bar high with his previous studio albums, "Desperate Man" is right up there with his best and may just be his most accomplished effort to date. Church continues to write memorable songs in a wide variety of styles, and even when he's not singing over country musical elements, his lyrical voice is always undeniably a country one. He also knows how to have a little fun, especially with "Hanging Around," a soulful, funky tune mixing together »»»
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: No matter what you call it, The Cadillac Three are really good – On the face of it, Kelby Ray's omnipotent pedal steel lines weaving in and out of The Cadillac Three's songs would make you willing to get the family farm the trio was a country music band. In reality, that would be stretching the already hyper-elastic boundaries of what constitutes country these days. Yes, there was a country vibe from the... »»»
Concert Review: Alaina enjoys the difference – Why was this night different from most other nights for Lauren Alaina? For starters, instead of opening in arenas for Blake Shelton, which she's been doing lately, she headlined her own show at a very small, intimate club. That afforded her the chance to stretch out musically and otherwise in a warm, engaging 70-minute set from the country pop singer.... »»»
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