Another grand master

One of the most magical and powerful forms of writing is songwriting; that may be why so many contemporary fiction writers pay royalty fees to be able to quote popular songs in their novels.

Last night we went to the Paramount to hear one of the grand singer/songwriters: Merle Haggard. I’d forgotten what an immense repertoire he has, and how gorgeous his voice is (think Willie Nelson, then add a range that runs considerably deeper).

Haggard, born in 1937, has been performing since he got out of prison in 1960 (inspired to go straight by seeing Johnny Cash perform and by talking with Caryl Chessman). Though I’ve danced in honkytonks for years to Haggard’s songs played by other bands, I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard him live with his 10-piece ensemble, the Strangers, before. If you haven’t, and you’re interested in great songwriting and masterful performance, here’s his tour schedule. Note that March 9 – 25 he’ll be on a national tour with Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and Asleep at the Wheel that includes two nights at The Backyard in Austin (of course those two dates are sold out).

One response to “Another grand master

  1. Speaking of Merle Haggard, have any of you heard this? (you’ll probably need to cut and paste the links):

    A song by Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka, Dr. BLT of Bakersfield, California, paying tribute to Merle Haggard’s fighting side is climbing this chart, jumping over 1200 notches in one week to land at number 243 this week:

    http://www.neilyoung.com/lwwtoday/lwwsongspage.html

    The Dr. BLT song that proceeded it, Neil Young (Have you Forgotten), hit #1 on this chart back in July of 2006 and now rests at #155. It was also named the # 8 Best Record of 2006 by Blogcritics magazine writer, Al Barger here:

    http://www.morethings.com/music/best_songs_2006.htm

    The Merle Haggard tribute song can be heard and downloaded for free at the site of the chart or here.

    Merle Hasn’t Lost His Fightin’ Side
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c) 2007
    http://www.drblt.net/music/MerleVeryLast.mp3

    “Sonically, Dr. BLT offers up a mix of country, folk and rockabilly, while vocally he tends to come off as a Dylan with clear diction. No, scratch that. I liked the line so much I had to include it, but Dr. B’s voice is smoother and clearer than that. Especially on what I think is the best cut, “Merle Hasn’t Lost His Fighting Side.” I hear slight hints toward country legend John Anderson in that one.” (Junkyard Blog)
    Bryan Preston, National Review Writer

    Like

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