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I AM WHAT I AM – New CD Coming April 20

I AM WHAT I AM – New CD Coming April 20

  |   News   |   162 Comments

MERLE HAGGARD

RETURNS APRIL 20

WITH NEW CD ‘I AM WHAT I AM’

DEBUT DISC FOR VANGUARD RECORDS

I AM WHAT I AMMERLE HAGGARD returns on April 20 with his new CD I AM WHAT I AM, his first disc for Vanguard Records, and an inspired effort from a rejuvenated legend. Co-produced by MERLE with longtime cohort Lou Bradley, the disc features 12 songs including the candid title track, with typically stellar playing from MERLE’s band the Strangers.

MERLE turns inward on his new disc, and the result isn’t some great claim to Truth, but a concession to the album title’s simple truth. If the songs here are occasionally tinged with regret, I AM WHAT I AM is no place for apologies – indeed, the tone of these tracks is celebratory as often as not, the reflection of a man profoundly comfortable in his weathered skin.

Don Markham’s understated trumpet lends both vibrancy to pensive tracks and restraint to rowdier cuts, and Doug Colosio’s piano offers a reference point to MERLE’s Western swing roots (notably on “Pretty When It’s New” and “The Road To My Heart”). I AM WHAT I AM is anchored by MERLE’s band The Strangers – which, in addition to Markham and Colosio, includes drummer Biff Adam, Norm Hamlet on steel guitar, Scott Joss on fiddle and guitar, and Kevin Williams on bass with lead guitars from Tim Howard and MERLE’s son Ben Haggard – while a short list of guest musicians (including Bob Dylan drummer George Receli) sound right at home with the band in the comfortable confines of MERLE’s Shade Tree Manor studio in Northern California.

It’s a prime canvas for the artist’s work, and MERLE doesn’t disappoint. Every song is imbued with the near alchemical power of his dazzling vocal performances, and MERLE’s interpretive mastery and unmatched phrasing continues to bring on impressive measures of sensitivity, candor and authority.

I AM WHAT I AM is a typically far-reaching set, but remains centered around a series of contemplations on love, in all of its intoxicating and vexing forms. Examining romance with a poet’s beatific vulnerability, MERLE travels from the ardent bloom of romance to the intricate ensemble of family life to the burnt out confusion of fading passion, yet always returns to love’s eternally redemptive power. On tracks like “Pretty When It’s New,” a study of new love’s marvelous voltage, and “How Did You Find Me Here” which convincingly takes him from morbid depression to elated joy, MERLE sounds almost reborn, intensely involved and consumed with a sheer sense of wonder that’s enhanced further by those characteristically masterful vocals.

Elsewhere, MERLE lets loose on a duet with his wife Theresa on the rollicking “Live And Love Always,” revisits his childhood on “Oil Tanker Train,” and finds the contentment of home sweet home on “Down At The End Of The Road.” MERLE’s often closely guarded innocence is completely exposed, showing a tenderness that, considering the counterpoint of his battle-scarred, hardened exterior, creates a remarkably resonant experience.

The track listing for I AM WHAT I AM is as follows:

  1. I’ve Seen It Go Away
  2. Pretty When It’s New
  3. Oil Tanker Train
  4. Live And Love Always
  5. The Road To My Heart
  6. How Did You Find Me Here
  7. We’re Falling In Love Again
  8. Bad Actor
  9. Down At The End Of The Road
  10. Stranger In The City
  11. Mexican Bands
  12. I Am What I Am

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162 Comments
  • Jerry Barnes | Apr 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Many of our fondest memories include working with you and your guys when you chose to come down to United/Western Studios in Hollywood What a pleasure it was for me to engineer “Ramblin Fever” If We’re not Back In Love By Monday” and so many other priceless “Haqggard Trophy’s.” And Joan & I will always recall the great time we shared when viviting your Bakersfield home…you know, the one surrounded by that mote!!

  • Cheryl t. Barker | Mar 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I am so looking forward to being Center stage at your April 29 show in Macon Georgia, thank you so much for all you do.

    • Cheryl t. Barker | Mar 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      I am the biggest Hag fan in the whole world just as you are the Biggest Country Star in the whole world. Thank you for giving the Whole World the Best Country Music ever Sung or Written.

  • Gerry Axvig | Oct 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Hi:
    You have always been number 1 of all the country singers. GERRY
    My favorite has been “Daddy Frank” and “My Favorite Memory” and “Big City”.

  • J L | Oct 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Hey Merle .youre the best singer and song writer in the world , IVE been listening to you since i was 15 year old you have always been my idol and hero

  • Tina Moore | Aug 22, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I just really love you and your music. I have been listening to since i was a little girl. My daddy played your music all the time.

  • jackie patterson | Aug 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Loving your music as always & cannot wait to get that new cd. You have always touched my heart through your voice. Thank you for always being so devoted to your fans & taking the time for comments

  • joey benard | Jun 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    IM IN JACKSON TN I HEAR KENNY VERNON TALK ALOT ABOUT YOUR FRIENDSHIP AND I THINK WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS IS PEOPLE WHO APPERCIATE TRUE FRIENDS MERLE I WISH YOU WOULD COME TO JACKSON TN AND DO A SIMPLE (NO LIGHTS AND WHATEVER) SHOW MABY YOU AND KENNY GOD BLESS KEEP THE MUSIC COMING

  • Jessene | Jun 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I grew up listening to my Dad sing your songs.

  • Bobby Gibson | Nov 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Merle, I was just listening to you sing, “No Bodys Darlin But Mine” You’ve still got it Pal. Hope to pick with you again someday. Bobby

  • cody | Oct 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Theres alot that I would like to say mostly just wished I could have been able to sit around the fire and play your songs with you