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Merle’s Kern River Blues

John Harte/The Californian

Merle Haggard fans!  His last song, “Kern River Blues,” the final tune that “the Hag” ever recorded, is available!

According to, even while Merle was battling pneumonia, the country legend was writing and recording new material.  This song reflects on Merle leaving Bakersfield, Calif., in the late 1970s.  According to song details listed on Haggard’s website, it was recorded on Feb. 9. Merle Haggard by Ray Keeling

“I’m flying out on a jet plane / Gonna leave this town behind / I’m flying out on a jet plane / Gonna leave this town behind,” Haggard sings. “They’ve done moved the city limits / Out by the county line.”

“Kern River Blues” premiered on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse on Thursday, and is now available via his official website.  A portion of proceeds from the song will go to homeless charities.

“Well, I’m leaving town forever / Kiss an old boxcar goodbye,” the last lyrics of “Kern River Blues” go. “I dug my blues down in the river / But the old Kern River is dry.”

Here’s a sample of the tune here:

The web site went on to report that although “Kern River Blues” is the final song that Haggard ever recorded, it may not be the last new music that country fans will hear from him.  In an interview about a year before his death, Haggard noted that his family has access to “probably 300, 400 songs that I haven’t released that I’ve collected over the years.”

“We call it ‘the archive,’ and we haven’t released anything from that,” Haggard explained. “When I get unable to record or sing anymore or get killed or something, well, they’ll probably put it out.”  Wouldn’t you LOVE to hear those recordings!?

There’s a permanent memorial to Haggard in the works in Muskogee, Okla., as well as a movie.

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