Category: Merle Haggard

Video: Willie Nelson, sons cover Pearl Jam's 'Just Breathe'

Willie Nelson's new album Heroes includes his version of Pearl Jam's  Just Breathe
Willie Nelson’s latest album, “Heroes,” is out today, May 15, and for the occasion the Red Headed Stranger has been working his Willie's Roadhouse classic-country channel on Sirius XM satellite radio, giving his listeners a sneak listen to the entire CD over the last four days.

He also recorded a live rendition of one of the album’s songs, a version of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” in the studio with sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, along with a couple of his longtime Family Band members,  including his sister, keyboardist Bobbie, and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. The video can be seen here.

 

“Just Breathe” is one of a couple of left-field song choices -- another is Coldplay’s “The Scientist” -- on a set that also features more big-name duet partners for Nelson, this time including Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson and (drum roll, please) Snoop Dogg. Nelson and Snoop teamed up for the lighthearted smokefest celebration “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”

Should Nelson ever decide to stage the odd-couple duet live, it’s a safe bet that Snoop won't send a hologram to inhale in his place.

RELATED:

Willie Nelson in jazz country

Coachella 2012: Dr. Dre says Tupac 'hologram' a one-off

Willie Nelson sings 'Hell and Back Again' documentary theme song

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Willie Nelson and band at Sirius XM live performance session. Credit: Rahav Segev.

The Bakersfield Sound gets its due in Nashville

'The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country' opens at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Bakersfield-hor

Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other pioneers of West Coast country music are getting a much-deserved salute in Nashville with an expansive new exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Recognition of this scope -- especially in the country music capital -- was unthinkable during the 1950s and '60s when the snappy and rebellious style known as "the Bakersfield Sound" was in its heyday.

That sound, marked by a youthful, maverick spirit, was an important alternative to music coming out of Nashville at the time, which was growing sonically lush and thematically adult-focused.

The exhibit explores the distinctive music, performers, venues, recording studios, fashions, instruments and cultural factors that came together to make the California town a force in country music. The main focal points, of course, are the two musicians cited in the title of the show, "The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country," which is slated to run through the end of next year.

Owens and Haggard catapulted the image and public awareness of Bakersfield far beyond the borders of a town otherwise best known for oil fields and farms. But they weren't the only ones.

"We were just playing old, loud country music at the Blackboard," said Red Simpson, who followed Owens' and Haggard's successes with a string of his own hits in the mid-'60s, mostly songs about trucks and truck drivers. Simpson has also written hundreds of songs, many of which were recorded by both of those artists and numerous others.

Simpson, once described by Bob Dylan as "the forgotten man of the Bakersfield Sound," made the 2,000-mile trek to Nashville last week for the opening of the exhibition, including a concert Saturday night featuring other notables such as Jean Shepard, Buddy Mize, Rose Lee Maphis, Dallas Frazier, Don Maddox (of the Maddox Brothers and Rose family band) and others.

Continue reading »

Merle Haggard recovers from pneumonia, returns to touring

Merle Haggard has recovered from pneumonia and is resuming his touring schedule
Country music veteran Merle Haggard has recovered from his bout with pneumonia and other medical issues and is heading back out on tour for a string of shows beginning Feb. 28 in Tucson and continuing with stops in Southern California the following night at the Grove in Anaheim and March 1 at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego.

The 74-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame member was hospitalized  last month in Macon, Ga., where he was treated for double pneumonia as well as for stomach ulcers, esophageal diverticulitis and the removal of eight polyps from his colon. He postponed seven shows.

“I’m feeling good and ready to get back on the bus,” Haggard said in a statement issued Wednesday by his spokeswoman. “Thanks to all for their powerful prayers that led to my speedy recovery. I’m rehearsing with the band and looking forward to playin’ and singin’ again.”

Haggard had part of a lung removed in 2008 after learning he had lung cancer. The cancer has been in full remission since that surgery.

RELATED:

Merle's Haggard's breathing easier now

Stagecoach 2010: On the bus with Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia, postpones 7 shows

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Merle Haggard and his dog, Fanny Mae, on his tour bus backstage at the 2010 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

Merle Haggard out of hospital, home to recuperate* [Updated]

Merle Haggard goes home to recuperate from pneumonia
Country singer and songwriter Merle Haggard has been released again from a hospital in Macon, Ga., and has returned to his home in Redding, Calif., to recuperate from a bout of pneumonia and other medical issues, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

The 74-year-old singer also was treated for three stomach ulcers, esophageal diverticulitis and had eight polyps removed from his colon while hospitalized last week in Georgia with double pneumonia.

He was released late last week and planned to drive home to recover, but returned shortly after to seek more aggressive treatment. Haggard had part of a lung removed in 2008 after it was discovered he had lung cancer. The cancer has been in full remission since the surgery.

Update at 8:15 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that Haggard had part of a lung removed in 2007. That surgery was 2008.

RELATED:

Stagecoach Festival 2012 is sold out

Merle Haggard returns to Macon hospital for more treatment

Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean lead country music awards nominations

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Merle Haggard performs at the 2010 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif.. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times. 

Merle Haggard returns to Macon hospital for more treatment

Merle Haggard returns to hospital for further treatment of pneumonia
Merle Haggard has returned to the Macon, Ga., hospital where he had been admitted last week to treat his pneumonia for further care and treatment of  three other medical issues, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Haggard, 74, reported that his double pneumonia is now almost completely clear and that he also is recovering from three stomach ulcers, the removal of eight polyps from his colon and diverticulitis in his esophagus, spokeswoman Tresa Redburn said.

“Thanks to the wonderful people all over the world that prayed those special prayers, I’m a new man,” Haggard said through Redburn. He voiced “Another special thanks to the folks of Macon, Ga., for their kindness, intelligence and probably saving my life.”

Haggard is expected to be “back up and running in 30 days,” she said.

Haggard had been released from the hospital on Friday and was starting the drive back to his home in Redding, Calif., but realized over the weekend he hadn’t fully recovered and returned for additional treatment.

Haggard's website says his next live performance is Feb. 28 in Tucson. He is scheduled to play the Grove of Anaheim on Feb. 29 and Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage on March 3.

RELATED:

Merle Haggard being released from hospital

Merle Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia, postpones 7 shows

Merle Haggard breathing easier now

--Randy Lewis

Photo of Merle Haggard performing at the 2010 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

Merle Haggard being released from hospital

Merle Haggard being released from hospital where he was admitted with pneumonia
Merle Haggard is being released today, Jan. 20, from the hospital in Macon, Ga., where  he was admitted earlier this week to be treated for pneumonia. Doctors expect the 74-year-old country singer and songwriter to make a full recovery and be able to resume his touring schedule in February after having to postpone seven shows this month to get treatment for his illness, his spokeswoman said Friday.

Shows that had been booked through January in Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma will be rescheduled in April, the spokeswoman said. The Country Music Hall of Fame member has dates on tap in Southern California on Feb. 29 at the Grove in Anaheim, March 1 at the Balboa Theater in San Diego and March 3 at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs.

RELATED:

Merle Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia, postpones 7 shows

Merle Haggard's breathing easier now

Stagecoach 2010: On the bus with Merle Haggard

--Randy Lewis

Photo of Merle Haggard at his ranch in Palo Cedro, Calif., in 2007. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press.

 

 

Merle Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia, postpones 7 shows

Merle Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia
Merle Haggard is hoping to be released in a few days from the hospital where he was admitted earlier this week to be treated for pneumonia, which forced the celebrated country singer and songwriter to postpone seven shows in several states, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

The 74-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame member was admitted Tuesday to a hospital in Macon, Ga., shortly before he was to play in that city. He is hoping to be released in several days, Haggard’s spokeswoman said Thursday, adding that “he sounded in good spirits when I spoke to him yesterday.”

Continue reading »

Album review: Merle Haggard's 'Working in Tennessee'

Album review: Merle Haggard's 'Working in Tennessee'

Merle Haggard may be 74 but he sounds utterly playful in the title track of his new album, one of his strongest collections in a couple of decades.

“What I Hate” is a powerful mission statement from a man who’s long served as a voice of conscience in modern society, detailing the failings and the successes he sees when he scours the landscape. “Under the Bridge” again taps his compassion for the downtrodden — in this case, the homeless — who’ve always been close to his heart: “Under the bridge / I can make believe I’m living in a castle.”

Continue reading »

Steve Miller joins 'ROCK Symphony' performances Sept. 17-18

Steve Miller 
Steve Miller's music has become a staple at classic-rock radio, and this weekend the guitarist, singer and songwriter enters the realm of classical rock with world premiere performances of "Steve Miller ROCK Symphony," a new work that's grown out of his long involvement with Kids Rock Free, a program that provides free or low-cost music lessons to young players.

The 35-minute rock symphony comprises five Miller songs arranged for orchestra by Rune Bergmann, and will have its premiere Saturday at the Fender Center Museum in Corona, where Miller will join Bergmann and the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. They'll do an encore show Sunday at the Temecula Civic Center Plaza in old town Temecula as a benefit for a KRF school slated to open in that city this fall.

Miller has been supporting the KRF program for a decade, often working with the students age 7 to 17 who receive guitar, bass, drums, voice and combo-playing lessons at the museum's KRF school.

"You can build a Kids Rock Free music school for less than it costs to build a McDonald's restaurant," Miller told Spinner last year. "You build it in five months in a tilt-up building and you can hire five teachers and you can have a thousand kids taking music lessons in from zero to six months."

The Fender Center school now serves about 400 youths per week, museum executive director Debbie Shuck said, but it could accommodate as many as 1,600 students a week with sufficient funding to pay teachers. Lessons for adults are also offered at the school.

"We have a waiting list of 1,000 kids," Shuck said Friday. "It's just word of mouth, and it's first-come, first-served." More than 16,000 kids have participated since the program began in 1998, she said.

KRF school students have created bands that are given opening slots for acts that play fundraisers at the facility, including Miller, Merle Haggard, Paul Rodgers and others.

On Saturday, the program, which will be emceed by KLOS-FM deejay Cynthia Fox, will include an opening set by one of the student bands, the Fender Benders, and three numbers by the orchestra. Miller will then join the ensemble for the performance of the rock symphony.

Ticket prices range from $35 to $100. Information: (951) 735-2440, ext. 207. Or www.FenderCenter.org.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Steve Miller. Credit: David Woo

Bob Dylan's all-star album of 'lost' Hank Williams songs due Oct. 4

Bob Dylan sings Hank Williams

Hank Williams saluted by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s long-gestating project to complete a batch of songs left unfinished by Hank Williams will see the light of day Oct. 4 with the release of “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams,” a collection of a dozen songs for which Dylan, Merle Haggard, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow and several other musicians created music for the country giant’s unpublished lyrics.

Dylan invited those with an affinity for Williams' music -- also including his own son, Jakob Dylan, Williams’ granddaughter, Holly,  as well as Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell, Alan Jackson, Levon Helm and Patty Loveless -- to select lyrics from a stockpile that Williams left behind in a leather briefcase when he died in 1953. Some lyrics were finished, others were just fragments or ideas Williams had jotted down. 

The album has been assembled in conjunction with the “Family Tradition” exhibition on Williams and his descendants at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, a show that opened in 2008 and will continue through Dec. 31.

Gill and Crowell collaborated on a song titled “I Hope You Shed a Million Tears,” for which Williams’ original steel guitarist, Don Helms, played on what turned out to be one of the final recording sessions before his death in 2008.

“The neat thing for me,” Gill told The Times three years ago, “was how the spirit of it felt like that era of music: Hank and the '50s. We all gathered in a circle, played together and played live with no overdubbing and no fixing. We just gathered 'round and had a pretty big time.”

Haggard sings "The Sermon on the Mount," a song for which he said, "I had to fix a few lines."

The album will be the second release on Dylan’s own label imprint, Egyptian Records.  The first was a 1997 tribute to pioneering country singer and songwriter Jimmie Rodgers with recordings of his songs by Dylan, Bono, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, Steve Earle, Alison Krauss, Jerry Garcia and several others.

RELATED:

Jack White speaks on Bob Dylan's Hank Williams project

Don Helms, 1927-2008: Steel guitar player for Hank Williams

Bob Dylan turns 70: 'I'm younger than that now'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo (left) of Bob Dylan. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

Photo (right) of Hank Williams. Credit: TNN.

Advertisement
Connect

Recommended on Facebook



In Case You Missed It...

Video



Recent Posts


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: