Tour Dates

Upcoming shows

Subscribe: RSS iCal


I AM WHAT I AM – New CD Coming April 20

I AM WHAT I AM – New CD Coming April 20

  |   News   |   162 Comments





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

NOTE: Post comments will be approved before they are displayed. Post comments must be on topic to be approved. Thanks.

  • Margie | Apr 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Remembered it was your special day, April 6th — Here’s hoping you enjoyed interaction with the hearts and minds of the ones you love today!!
    Looking forward to hearing your new release April 20th.

  • Mary | Apr 6, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Happy Birthday Merle! Looking forward to the new CD, hope to see you on the road this summer…God bless always and thank you for everything.

  • Frank Scaglione | Apr 6, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Merle, I turned 70 last November and I have always been a fan of yours. Your songs make the goosebumps come out on me. Your one of
    the greatest music makers ever to hit this planet. Keep up the great work and Happy Birthday Hag……

  • Helen Longino | Apr 6, 2010 at 5:57 am


  • Roger Tripp | Apr 6, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Happy #73 Merle,

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday today. Hope you have a wonderday & beautiful day.
    Can’t wait to hear the new cd, you’re simply the best! God blessed you with a talent
    so great, & it’s great that you’ve lent it to us, your fans.
    I can honestly say, a day does not go by without me listening to a Merle song, & it’s been
    that way for 40 years. Your music has been a friend in time of need. For example When my two kids
    were small in the 80’s & I was going through my 1st divorce, “Holdin Things Together” got me through
    May God Bless You & Your Family,

    Roger Tripp

  • WONNIE LOUDERMILK | Apr 6, 2010 at 3:22 am


  • Harry Thompson | Apr 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Hello Merle ! Cannot wait to get your album. Wilma and I have not seen you since March of 09. Hope to see you in Athens Ga. this year.You are the best . Happy birthday.

  • Sherry | Apr 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Happy Birthday on Tuesday April 6th, and I pray each day you have MANY, MANY more. I cried when I read to comment above about walking down the isle with dad to THE HAG and dancing to Silver Wings…always the first song my deceased husband would dance with me to….

    I am so excited about the new CD, and I will be bugging my radio DJs to play it, starting with copying this link and the home page link and sending them a messsage….anybody wanna join me?? (HINT HINT)

    I love your music, have I think all, on album, 8 track tape and/or CD, and I’m only 54!!!

  • Bob Lipar | Apr 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Merle,your new album can’t get here fast enough!!! Also hoping for more DVD’s in the near future!!! There’s not much I can say that has’nt been said before! Merle,you are THE MAN!! Thank You for sharing your gifts and talent with the rest of the world!! Wishing you Miss Theresa,andFamily the best of Health and Happiness!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

  • Dave Ashwell | Apr 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Gday from a lifelong fan in Westen Australia mate. It is a sad thing that music just aint what it was and never will be again. When you blokes dissapear from the face of the earth (like Willy and the rest) as some alredy have (Waylon and Johnny) then the music truly will “die”. Keep ut the good work for us TRUE music believers!

    Love you lots cobber.


  • Britt W Priddy | Apr 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I can’t wait to get the new cd, can’t wait to hear ”I am what I am” and the deut with threasa….merle you are my hero , INSPERATION TO US ALL, thake care of yourself & thanks for all the good music and all the good times.
    God Bless
    Britt wayne priddy

  • Robert W. Penny | Apr 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Wow!!!! Looking forward to the new CD, and thanks for all the great music down through the years. Have been your biggest fan and supporter for many years, as well as having the opportunity to work with you Biff, Don, Scott, and Norm. Thanks and God Bless you. Will catch up with you in Missouri this summer!!!!

  • Bob Wilson | Apr 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Saw your second show up at River CRee,Casina,Edmonton,Alberta. I know your doing for the fans and that’s admirable of you. I don’t know how you found the time to make a CD, when you’ve been touring so much Your son Ben, is a chip off the old bark Wish you’d do more DVD’s and then you wouldn’t have to travel so much. I’ve been a musician for 30 yrs and i can’t handle the road much longer. Your a gift to the real country world, keep it up Sincerely Bob Wilson Edmonton Ab
    […] A colleage i play with, used to play with Red Wlgart,years ago. Man I wish I had the time to jam with you sometime, if I ever find it out around Northern California,with your permision of course. I’ve written over 200 songs but never got any published because I’m afraid of getting ripped off. Of course,if some are good,you’d make them Hits. So long for now partner and say hello to my other fav, Willie

  • dennis bassett | Apr 4, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I am huge fan of you and the Strangers, cannot wait for your new CD. We were to your show in Red Robisons Show Place in Vancouver BC Canada in Mar.18…….was great show and nice to see your sons perform……….I play Fender bass ,,,maybe you have an opening……….all best dennis

  • ron eaton | Apr 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

    When I was going through some hard times through out most of my life you were with me in song and spirt drank a lot of beer and smoked a smoked a few to your tunes read your autobiography most read book in public library have all your box sets looking forward to seening you and Kentucky this summer. God Bless you and your family.

    ~Ron Eaton~

    (Bushmaster MC forever)

  • Isla Grant | Apr 4, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Cant wait for the new album and what a great title, Merle you dont know me but I’m a singer/songwriter with 9 triple platinum discs and two gold and its all down to you as you gave methe inspiration when I was really down ,recovering from a car accident, you saw me through many a darkend night, you also spoke to me on the phone about five years ago it was set up by the BBC. when I was doing interveiws for my new album at that time. God Bless you always Merle its been a dream for so long for me to meet you but I dont think it will ever come true, love to all your family and as I travel the world with my songs you are never far from my thoughts for the help I got from your writings an THE VOICE, love always Isla Grant, Scotland

  • J Timms | Apr 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I am 43 and been big fan of yours for long as I can remember. I saw you in little Nashville IN. I have to say what a concert that was. Can’t wait get your new CD. You take care and hope get see you soon again. Retire from military here soon.

  • ridk lowe | Apr 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I can’t wait to get this disc, I will see the man in Mo. This will be the best part of my vacation. Hw is the best of the best

  • John Chislow | Apr 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Merle, I am 69 years old, been your fan since the 60’s. Driving to work at 5:00 AM one morning I heard “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde”, after
    work I bought the album. I’ve been buying them ever since, I have ALL your music. Looking forward on this one too. I’ve been to many of your concerts,the last being Vegas.I hope your able to continue with your music for many years to come. Take care and God bless you Merle. Love you man..

    • Mary D. | Feb 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      I also listened to Merle while driving to work at 5:00 am., I have many memories from listening to Merle and will always continue thinking of the moments which were so dear to me and of those that were in my life. “Today I started loving you Again”

      Merle is a legend !

  • Daniel Denier from switzerland | Apr 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I can’t wait to listen your new CD!!!
    I’m a big fan of HAG!!
    I hope you will have a Concert in switzerland!!!!!!!!!!

  • Char | Apr 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Hag—I truly admire your clarity and diction but most of all, your songs ALWAYS hit the point for me. It helps too that you sing in my key! Spent the weekend singing with you and Jones—looking forward to your new CD. Take care…

  • Bruce MacFarlane | Apr 3, 2010 at 5:15 am

    I became a huge fan after that Chicago Wind album. There’s just something about it. But, what I’ve been meaning to say is, that album opened my ears to you, and now, I may own just about everything of yours in the store! I think I would give away an arm for an autographed new album. I would pay more for a pre-release autographed version. Keep on touring till the next millenium!

  • larry manning | Apr 3, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Dear Merle, I am 56 years old,raised up listening to you waylon willie,marty,george and it was all I knew.When this happens young in life,really you never get past the love for the rhythem and timing of the sound.I got right with the Lord at age 26/been married now 35 years.Listen mostly to bluegrass gospel on pandora,recently heard a tune I think its called [Pray] you sing,think of somebody else-other than yourself.Powerful song it is with you singing it .It really got me,though few words there are.What an impact if we get a hold of it. Thanks for your work on that piece,I have relayed that message many times over in my own mind and to others since I heard it .Never met you but its wild how you never get by thinking of some folks,over the years and songs you heard and then how they played out in our lives.Appreciate that one especially. […]. Thank you sincerly Larry Manning

  • RUSSELL SNOW | Apr 2, 2010 at 8:12 pm


  • Sissy | Apr 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Congrats on your new CD! Can’t wait to hear it and how wonderful Theresa is singing with you on it. Can’t wait to hear… I Am What I Am
    God Bless

  • Dalkeith | Apr 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

    You are and George Jones are the best. Can’t wait to purchase your new CD. There will only be one Merle. Blessing to you. Your Fan Dalkeith from Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

  • Helen..A.K.A="OKIEFAN" | Apr 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

    “IF IT AIN’T HAGGARD, IT AIN’T COUNTRY”(no more)! “EVERY BODY’S DOIN IT, MERLE’S JUST DOIN IT BETTER”! YOU ROCK MERLE! Thanks for all of the wonderful music thru out the years, and THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHOWING THESE NEW COMING-“WANNA BEE’S” HOW IT’S REALLY DONE!!!! Your Friend-Fan for LIFE..Helen from Detroit!

  • Cara | Apr 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    can’t wait to get the new cd. i walked down the aisle in november with my dad to “that’s the way love goes”, then danced with him to “silver wings”. you are amazing and my dad and i see you every chance we get when you’re here in texas!

  • Ina | Mar 31, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I wish great success with the new CD. Can’t wait to listen to it!!!

  • Sharon | Mar 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Merle, I can’t wait to buy you’r new cd.You are a country music legend and when I am out there driving my big rig I always have you’r cd in.Can’t wait for the new one.Thank god you are still out there making music.

  • Mike Marlowe | Mar 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Really looking forward to the new cd. It sounds like that it may be one of your best. I have been a big fan for many years and hope that you continue to keep putting out great music. You always have my support and admiration.

  • Keith Rigsby | Mar 31, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Merle, I love you man! You are the greatest musician that has ever lived. I am thankful that you’re still making albums. You and I differ politically, but I respect your opinion and I’ll continue to support you as long as you choose to make wonderful music! Stay healthy brother! You’re the BEST!

  • Paul Telles | Mar 31, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I can’t wait to hear this. The songs, the lineup, the association with Vanguard all sound very promising. Also, I am very much looking forward to seeing you in Bend, Oregon, on Father’s Day! This will be the third time I’ve seen you in the last several years. All the shows have been excellent! Thanks for continuing to produce great songs and great recordings!

  • Michelle Becker | Mar 31, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I can”t wati to hear it.My daily music is Merle Haggard and the Strangers,I am proud to say.Thank you all.God Bless

  • Jean-Christophe | Mar 31, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Merle, you are a living legend and your music is in every chapter of my life. Thank’s

  • Barbara | Mar 31, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Hi Merle, Can’t wait to buy your new CD. Hope to see you live in the KY area this year. Love you, Barb

  • marvin hudson | Mar 31, 2010 at 1:13 am

    merle i am anticipating your new cd and have seen you so many times in concert and you have never failed us yet . i met you in fort mitchell kentucky, and sorry to hear about bonnie owens what a loss. god bless merle.

  • Dan & Helen Toth | Mar 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Merle has always been the greatest singer we have had the pleasure of calling our friend…Can’t wait for the new CD ..they are all great..Can’t wait to see Theresa and the guys again..Love Ya Merle..Helen & Dan

  • Neckywoudje | Mar 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I can’t wait either….i’m 28 now, but i’ve been a Haggard enthousiast since i was 4 years old…it was the first music i ever listened to……very cool that new music is still beeing made by Merle…I loved the recent George Jones duet album and Last of the Breed….And for us youngsters it’s great to catch up with what came before with the three Bear Family boxed sets….a fouth volume is still missing, though :-)

    However, I live performance is still a whish…so, please come to Holland, like Willie Nelson does every now and then….

    Thanks for the work!

  • Janet "Bug" Conner | Mar 30, 2010 at 9:32 am


  • Corey | Mar 30, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Congradulations Merle On a new C.D. I can’t wait to hear it

  • janet madison | Mar 30, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Hey Merle awaiting the grand reception of the new CD .You can never put out enough music with such great talent so glad you share it with the world.Critically awaiting to see you in another concert.Is the joy of my life.Looking forward to a new DVD !!!!WHEN????Never can get enough of you Merle…Love you very much and Theresa and cant wait to see you walk across the stage and the music to begin.!!!Looking forward to seeing Noel and the strangers too and having a great time..Sending you love and blessings and praying for many more years of merle music.Sincerely janet madison

  • Scott Wikle | Mar 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    It is going to be a great year !! New Hag music and a concert for me to attend on my Birthday (July 18th). Looking forward to seeing you and the Strangers again !! For those who haven’t heard, this new project will also be released on vinyl lp record from Vanguard.
    I think I speak for all the fans when I say Thank you Merle for all the wonderful music and memories and we are truly looking forward to this latest chapter in your musical journey with us all !

  • Jean Tewell | Mar 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Hello Merle,
    I am 62 years old & have been your fan for 40 years. I can’t wait to get my hands on your new CD. I hope you come back to Riverwind Casino again this year. I have seen you there for the past 4 years, last time was in Feb. with Kris Kristofferson. You are the greatest.
    Thanks for the music.

  • Bob | Mar 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    WOW, I can’t wait. With Merle singing, Benny on the guitar, and Kevin Williams on Bass guitar, it’s bound to be great.

  • Charlie Gaines | Mar 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Can’t wait for the CD. Saw you at the Ryman last year and seen a lot film cameras. Can we expect a new DVD?

  • Rocky | Mar 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Can’t wait to hear your new stuff.If it is half as good as If I could only fly it will be fantastic. Keep em coming Hag!

  • larry/nancy briar | Mar 29, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Have heard you sing a couple of the songs and can’t wait to buy it. We play your music every day and am anxiously waiting to go to another concert to see you and the Strangers. It is always a thrill.

  • Manny Armendariz | Mar 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Congrats on your upcoming cd Merle. I’m only 35, but have been a huge fan as long as I can remember. Seen you in El Paso TX in 2008, and it was a dream come true. Stay strong, and God Bless.

  • Tabor Eaton Manchester NH | Mar 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Merle, I cant wait to hear your new CD, take care
    a friend you may never know.

1 2 3 4