Merle Haggard’s music was something I grew up hearing, but didn’t get into until my early 20s. None of the fake bad boy stars of today could compete with the Country outlaws of old. These men were hard living balladeers. We are lucky to have a few left out there to show us the way.
Today we lost one of the greats. Haggard passed on his 79th birthday. Hopefully he’s able to join his old friend Johnny Cash who once told him, “Merle, you’re what people think I am.” When I saw he passed, I went online and learned something I didn’t know about the man.
“Haggard began to take music seriously while in prison at San Quentin, where he was on hand for the Johnny Cash performance that was captured for the iconic live album At San Quentin.” –TasteofCountry.com
Think about that. This man was in prison and lucky enough to catch one of the best live albums ever recorded while it was going down. From a battered folding chair he looked up at that stage and thought something like, “you know what, that looks like it’s for me.”
Just think about that for a minute. A man could be at his absolute lowest and still make a bold plan to pursue his dream. You can see a star while you’re in chains and get there yourself. That is powerful. It’s on you not to fuck it up.
Here’s to Merle and all the other fuck ups who made it. May we all follow your example and live a hard life that matters. Time is short people, make it happen.