Merle Haggard * The Interview * by Rock Cellar Magazine
“The Hag” Looks Back
As part of a vanishing breed that included Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and George Jones, Merle Haggard is one of the last true outlaws of American music.
Haggard is a survivor who, at age 20, began serving a three-year sentence in California’s San Quentin maximum security prison, having previously escaped jails and reform schools 17 times.
“They couldn’t really hold me anywhere, so they considered me an escape risk,” says Haggard.
“I don’t think I was really all that bad of a guy, and eventually I turned things around.”
Indeed he did, as Haggard would go on to write and record some of the most timeless classics, from Okie From Muskogee to Mama Tried to If We Make It Through December. His body of work easily places him beside Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, and Bill Monroe as one of the most influential artists in country music history.
His most recent studio album, 2011?s Working in Tennessee (pick up a copy in our Online Store by clicking here), is exemplary of the pedigree and status he has worked so hard to cultivate over the years – and he is showing zero signs of slowing down anytime soon.