Uncompromising honesty has always been the trait most associated with Merle Haggards music. Beyond the 40 No. 1 country hits, the distinctive infusion of Western swing, honky-tonk, even blues and traditional jazz into his compositions and arrangements, and his world-weary, stunning delivery, Haggard has always told it as he saw it in every situation. Whether expressing disdain or anguish, joy or desire, his songs celebrate the daily battles and struggles of all working people, and many who mischaracterized him as a retrograde figure on the basis of two late 60s hits (Okie From Muskogee and Fightin Side of Me) have since come to see within his catalog a lengthy number of tunes that showcase his stylistic diversity and thematic variety and complexity. Haggards songs reflect his influences, from Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills on through Lefty Frizzell, but always update and refresh them while remaining among countrys most poignant and powerful works. Haggard returns to Nashville tonight for a solo concert.
Tue., Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2009