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HeartBroken: The Music World Reacts to Passing of Merle

As the news broke yesterday that the legendary singer/songwriter/guitar player/performer extraordinaire, Merle Haggard, had passed away, fans from all walks of life began expressing their grief including many of our friends in the Texas and Red Dirt music world.  Here are some of those:

Cody Canada: “I had gotten word that they put Merle in hospice yesterday. I knew it was bad. I had that feeling today when I saw the rays of light through the clouds after chapel with the family this morning that this could be the day. The first voice besides my parents I ever heard. Had the pleasure of opening a couple times. Turned down a mid day smoke on his bus because I had my babies at home and didn’t want to leave them with a sitter just to go smoke weed. Later that night we talked for a good 30 minutes about music and life. He said ‘You’re the boy who stayed home to be with his kids instead of smoking with me'” I said ‘yes sir.’ He grinned, tapped me on the belly and said ‘Good for you. You’re a good daddy’ I said ‘I learned from mine who taught me your music’ he said ‘let’s go sing some songs’ as he crawled through the window of Gruene. Tom Skinner was a tough one that is still hard to believe. Merle I will never get over. I’ve never been touched by words and arrangements like his. The voice of my dads generation. My generation and my kids’ generation now. I made a pact with a friend long ago to stop everything and drink and dance when Merle went. So Randy Ragsdale if you’re close to Gruene it’s on me. Tonight my girl and I will dance and sing… Cry and cry again. Merle, you saved the two of us. I’m taking two days off.  We love Hag. See you in California buddy.”

Radney and Merle

Radney Foster (far left) posted this one.

Radney Foster: “I read the news of Merle Haggard’s death with great sadness. No one has influenced my singing more than Merle. We just lost one of the great American poets.” 

Courtney Patton: “My heart is broken. My house is filled with the sound of the most beautiful country voice I have ever known, spinning on vinyl, while the tears fall. Hugs to all my musical brothers and sisters feeling the loss of such an influential man. I wish we could all sit around together and play Merle Haggard songs until the sun comes up tomorrow. Love to all.”

Josh Jenkins of Green River Ordinance: “My introduction to music was my Dad singing Merle Haggard tunes at oprys in TX. So many great memories tied to these songs. Thanks Merle.”

Jack Ingram: “That’s a sorry piece of news. :((   I used to listen to cassettes of him just walking around my house on my Walkman.  I wanted to be a country singer because Merle Haggard was one…I was so scared to be a country singer because Merle Haggard was one. I knew I could never sing as cool & gruffly yet gorgeous as The Hag.  The news today. That’s so sad.  I know you’re hurting. I’m sad for that as well.”

Charla Corn: “My heart is broken. Merle Haggard, your music was threaded throughout the fabric of my life. May you rest your tired body and write beautiful songs amongst the Angels.”

Kyle Park: “Merle was the hero to all of my heroes. One of mine, too. I’ve spent a lot of hours listening to him sing his stories and songs. Other artists have tried to impersonate him.. Writers tried to write like him.. Men have tried to live like him. But there will never be another Merle. Forever one of the best.”

Jason Boland: “Thank for the inspiration, music, and class.”

Matt Hillyer

Matt Hillyer posted this photo of his Merle collection.

Matt Hillyer: “I know it can be kind of ridiculous whenever somebody famous dies and people act like they knew him personally, but damn. This is just horrible. Merle Haggard’s music meant so much to me. I’m so thankful I got to see him as many times as I did. He was one of the great American artists. We’ve lost so much. There will never be another.”

Cody Jinks: “We just lost The Greatest OF ALL TIME, and my personal favorite EVER! Thank You Merle Haggard for the lifetime of words and song.”

Kevin Fowler: “Words can’t even describe how sad I am to hear about Merle Haggard passing away. A man whose music totally changed my direction in life. Not sure I’d be doing what I am today if wasn’t for Merle. Very sad day.” Merle Haggard

I know that at many a house or honky tonk last night there were lots of people listening to their favorite Hag tunes, including my own.  Despite the fact his youth was troubled and he did some time in prison, I think it’s safe to say if you’re a true songwriting fan, we should all be thankful for that.  His songwriting was genuine.  From the heart.  True story songs.  We were able to take my 12 year old to see Merle last April and at the time we thought this could be the very last time we see this legend and we wanted our son to see what a true Country performer sounds like and does in concert.  I am ever so thankful we did.  God Bless you and thank you Merle, your music is and always be a part of my life.

1 Comment on HeartBroken: The Music World Reacts to Passing of Merle

  1. We saw him the last two “Aprils” here in H-Town.. a legend and a story teller.. he could weave a message through a melody and almost make you cry. I’ll always remember him as I dance to the music and the magic he left us with… RIP Mr. Haggard.

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