Spotlight On Merle Haggard at the Edgewater
Casino E Center in Laughlin, NV
Photos by Glenda
Merle Haggard performed at
the Edgewater Casino E Center in Laughlin, NV on March 2,
Just a few months ago, Haggard had pneumonia,
forcing the cancellation of some of his shows, but you would never
know it, he put on a great show!
Haggard sang many of
his hits from throughout his long career including "Silver Wings",
"The Fugitive", "Sing Me Back Home", "Mama Tried", "The Bottle Let
Me Down", "Today I Started Loving You Again", "Workin' Mans Blues",
"Fighting Side of Me", and of course "Okie From Muskogee". He
also sang one of his newest songs called "Working In
"I'm swinging back in full throttle right
now," Haggard said recently. "Music keeps me alive. It
makes me breathe better. It's funny, but I feel better when I
come off a tour than when I start out."
learned and the lesson taught by Merle Haggard's life and
career? "I'll tell you what the public likes more than
anything," he said, "It's the most rare commodity in the world -
The E Center at the Edgewater Casino in
Laughlin, NV is a great place for a concert. Check out their
website for upcoming shows: http://www.edgewater-casino.com/
can also call them at: (877) 344-1187
More on Merle:
troubled youngster who served time in San Quentin prison, California
native Merle Haggard grew to become a country music legend. With 38
number one hits and 250 original songs, he remains one of the
best-known and most covered artists in country music.
singer, guitarist, songwriter. Born April 6, 1937, in Bakersfield,
California. The son of a railroad worker, Haggard grew up in
Depression-era California. As a child, he was plagued by a
respiratory condition, which frequently kept him out of school and
confined to bed rest.
A rebellious teen, Haggard compiled a criminal record that
included such offenses as truancy, passing phony checks, and grand
theft auto. His escalating juvenile delinquency landed him in and
out of reform facilities and county jails. When not serving time,
Haggard pursued a love of music by playing guitar in local bars and
In March 1958, Haggard was sent to San Quentin prison after being
convicted for burglary and attempted escape from county jail. While
serving a 2 1/2-year term, he played in the prison's country band
and took high school equivalency courses. (Haggard was pardoned in
1972 by Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California.) Upon
his parole in 1960, Haggard returned to Bakersfield, where he sang
and played guitar in the honky-tonks of "Beer Can Hill," the hub of
the city's burgeoning country music scene.
gaining a loyal local following in his hometown, Haggard traveled to
Las Vegas, where he began playing bass guitar for Wynn Stewart. In
1962, he signed with a small label called Tally Records, for whom he
recorded five songs, including his debut single "Sing a Sad Song,"
which rose to No. 19 on the country charts. Haggard formed his own
backing band, the Strangers, before signing with Capitol Records in
1965. Later that year, the band released their debut self-titled
album. In 1967, their single, "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," soared to
the top of the country charts. Later that year, Haggard followed the
song's runaway success with, "Branded Man," his first self-penned
No. 1 song.
Ultimately, Haggard's streak of No. 1 singles during the 1960s
culminated with what would become his signature song and his most
controversial recording, "Okie from Muskogee." Released in 1969, the
song became an anthem for middle Americans whose patriotism and
traditional values were under attack from Vietnam War protestors and
hippies. "Okie from Muskogee" crossed over to the pop charts and
earned Haggard the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the
Year Award in 1970.
Since then, Haggard has released close to 70 albums and 600
songs, 250 of which he has written himself. Among his most memorable
albums were The Fightin' Side of Me (1970), Someday We'll Look Back
(1971), If We Make It Through December (1974), and A Working Man
Can't Get Nowhere Today (1977). In 1982, Haggard recorded a duet
album with George Jones called A Taste of Yesterday's Wine, which
yielded the chart toppers "Yesterday's Wine" and "C.C. Waterback."
The following year, he collaborated with Willie Nelson to record the
widely praised compilation Pancho & Lefty. In addition to an
impressive title track, Pancho & Lefty featured the touching
ballads "It's My Lazy Day," "Half a Man," "Reason To Quit," and "All
the Soft Places to Fall."
Haggard was elected to the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1977. In
1994, his wealth of artistic achievements, including 38 No. 1 hits,
earned him induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In 2008, Haggard was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had surgery
to remove the tumor and reflected on the situation as"the greatest
test of my fortitude." After a speedy recovery, Haggard toured and
wrote songs one of which was inspired by what President Barack Obama
called "Hopes Are High," which he wrote two days before the
Haggard was married to Leona Hobbs (from 1956-65) and to buck
Owens' ex-wife and fellow country singer Bonnie Owens (from
1965-75). Two more failed marriages followed--to backup singer Leona
Williams and to Debbie Parrett. Haggard is currently married to
Theresa Lane, whom he wed in 1993. He has three children from his
first marriage to Hobbs and two children with Lane.
Thanks For The Music!