The oldest son of country music legend Merle Haggard is carrying on father's music legacy.
Marty Haggard sounds and looks just like his dad. Merle’s oldest son makes his home in the ArkLaTex, a short drive from Shreveport in Doyline.
Merle Haggard is one of the greatest country singers of all time. He wrote and recorded hits like "Mama Tried", "Sing Me Back Home", and "Workin' Man Blues", which featured Shreveport's James Burton. In all, Haggard produced 38 number one hits.
Despite his dad's stardom, it wasn't always so easy for Marty who says he grew up poor near Bakersfield, California.
Marty explains, “I was born and raised in a boxcar. And I was born when dad was in San Quentin Prison. We didn't have nothin'.”
It was in San Quentin Prison that Merle Haggard witnessed Johnny Cash’s performance. Merle had taught himself to play guitar. He played and sang in prison and many of his fellow inmates tried to convince him that he had a gift.
“When they finally released him in 1960, he came out with a dream to do something through music."
Twelve years later, Merle Haggard was a national sensation and playing for President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon in the White House. Marty Haggard tours and performs around the country. He presents his father’s songs as treasures, keeping them alive. The songs are very personal to Marty.
Part of his show is storytelling. Explaining to Merle Haggard fans the story behind nearly every song.
He describes his show as: “A tribute to my dad. Basically, it’s just real intimate and you'll find it's not a show, it's a sharing.”
During his set on the Grand Ole Opry on Jan. 17, Gene Watson was surprised by Vince Gill with an invitation to join the esteemed club.
"He's one of the greatest country singers that's walked the earth," said Vince during Gene's introduction. After Gene performed "Sometimes I Get Lucky and Forget" and "Nothing Sure Looked Good On You," Vince asked, "Would you mind singing 'Farewell Party'? The Opry told me if you would, you could be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry."
Gene replied, "I'm not sure I have anything left after that kind of surprise." Gene performed the tune as the sold-out crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Gene, who made his Opry debut 55 years ago at the age of 21, scored a number of Top 10 hits in the 1970s and ?80s, including "Love in the Hot Afternoon," "Paper Rosie," "Fourteen Carat Mind," "You're Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without" and more.
Gene's invitation to join the Opry follows recent inductees Luke Combs (July 2019), Kelsea Ballerini (April 2019), Mark Wills (January 2019), Dustin Lynch (September 2018) and Chris Janson (March 2018).
Gene will be formally inducted into the Opry later this year.
Marty Stuart will release "The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey," an illustrated tabletop book (with CD) that details the making of his record "The Pilgrim", Stuart's 10th studio album, originally released in 1999. The concept project - based on true events that transpired in his hometown - was a turning point for Stuart. But the release was not a commercial success at the time.
Originally available in limited release during the 20th anniversary celebration of the album in the fall, "The Pilgrim" book is now available as a wide-release title via BMG, which began publishing music-related books in 2017. Included in "The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey" is a newly remastered CD of the original album, along with ten bonus tracks that feature guest performances by Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Uncle Josh Graves, Earl Scruggs and Stuart's wife, singer Connie Smith.
The book also features intimate photographs of Marty making music with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard,B.B. King, The Staple Singers, Tom Petty, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, George Jones and Dolly Parton.
The U.S. leg of Old Dominion's We Are Old Dominion Tour starts May 5th in Key West, FL, with Dustin Lynch and Carly Pearce set to open on select dates.
Many of the top artists in country music are slamming country radio and calling out the largely male-dominated industry for unfair practices.
On Thursday, Michigan radio station 98 FM KCQ tweeted and then deleted the statement “we cannot play two females back to back” which outraged several female singers, including Kelsea Ballerini, who shared the station’s tweet on Instagram.
Ballerini wrote, “To all the ladies that bust their asses to have half the opportunities that men do, I’m really sorry that in 2020, after YEARS of conversation of equal play, there are still some companies that make their stations play by these rules. It’s unfair and it’s incredibly disappointing."
She continued, “I say this having been one of the few women who have been really embraced by country radio and having watched some of the bigger networks (and some of my friends that are [program directors] and high up) make real changes in their programming to make it look more balanced. I am grateful. BUT. There is still inequality in airplay for women."
“And tweets like this prove it. And it’s my job to say it out loud and post about it, because of the girls moving to Nashville (or wherever) that are ready to outrun and outwork and outplay everyone. They deserve to know that they have the same shot as the guys moving here to do the same. Country music- We have to fix this. For us and for them. How do we do it? Let’s talk. (Also- don’t lash out at this station, they are playing by rules set for them from their higher ups).”
Other female artists, including Danielle Bradbery, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, Julianne Hough, Jennifer Nettles, Carly Pearce, Cassadee Pope, Maddie & Tae and Jamie Lynn Spears, flooded Ballerini’s comments section.
Kacey Musgraves commented, “The only thing these men are good at is making themselves look like bigger p—–s than all of ours combined.”
Hough wrote, “Yes girl!!!!! Take a stand and plant your flag. Let me know how I can help."
Producer and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder also wrote, “This is insane !!!!!! This has to change immediately.”
"Without Getting Killed or Caught," a documentary on Guy Clark, Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt, will premiere at SXSW 2020 in March.
The film features narration by Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek (as Susanna Clark) as well as interviews with Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Jo Harvey Allen, Terry Allen and Verlon Thompson, along with archival soundbites, photos and vintage footage.
"Without Getting Killed or Caught" follows the Clarks and Van Zandt on their journey from obscurity to reverence. The film makes use of Clark's songs, family photographs and archives, film footage and radio talk shows to tell its story.
Luke Bryan surprised fans on social media Thursday afternoon with the announcement of a new album and tour. The country star revealed his forthcoming seventh studio album, "Born Here, Live Here, Die Here", will be available April 24th.
In addition to new music, Bryan revealed he’ll be heading out on the Proud to Be Right Here Tour beginning in Cincinnati on May 28th. Openers will include Runaway June, Caylee Hammack and Morgan Wallen. The tour borrows its name from a line in the title track of Bryan’s forthcoming album.
Jason Aldean announced the summer leg of his 2020 We Back Tour , launching in Toronto on July 17th.
Brett Young, Mitchell Tenpenny and Dee Jay Silver will be special guests.
Reba McEntire will guest star in an upcoming episode of “Young Sheldon,“ airing in February.
McEntire will be playing June, a character described as “the fun, fiery ex-wife” of Coach Ballard (Craig T. Nelson), who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Meemaw (Annie Potts), who is currently dating Ballard.
Chris Young has shared his 2020 tour plans. The "Drowning" singer will headline the Town Ain't Big Enough World Tour 2020 starting in May, with amphitheater and pavilion dates scheduled through September.
He'll be joined by Scotty McCreery, as direct support, and Payton Smith, as well as "Next From Nashville" artists chosen by Young and AMG Management.
The Eli Young Band 2020 Tour launches February 14th in Denver, with High Valley opening on select dates.