I arrived home tonight to learn that Merle Haggard had died. It’s a huge loss to American music, because Merle Haggard was one of the giants of country music, roots music, and the kind of music you just want to listen to when you are sitting on a bar stool. Coupled with the lost of George Jones three years ago, Haggard’s death means that two of the most genuine voices on the American music scene are no longer with us.
The live performance of one of his greatest songs, Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down, that I’ve posted above, is vintage Merle Haggard. The lyrics are classic, and the Hag’s performance is fun and relaxed. If you’ve ever been dumped, you know what Merle Haggard is singing about in this song. (And, because I think the song is great, it’s the only song to have a video performance posted twice on the Webner House blog.)
I’d always liked old, traditional country — not the glorified pop crap that cowboy hat-wearing posers churn out these days — and Merle Haggard and George Jones, among others, really epitomized it. They were giants, and if you’ve never gotten into their music you’re missing something. Tonight, on the day of Merle Haggard’s passing, you could find a worse way to spend you time than listening to some of his greatest songs.