Haggard keeps on movin’
By Nathalie Baret For the Journal
Merle Haggard has a few priorities that he won’t back down from. One is staying above ground.
“I’m the kind of guy that has to keep moving and keep active, otherwise I’ll die. At my age, that’s real important. And singing is like swimming, because if you don’t do it, you lose it real quick. Plus, it is essential for your lungs. You know if you can go outside in your backyard and yell for an hour and a half you’d feel real good when you got done.”
Other “musts” that take precedence for the 73-year old country artist are spending quality time with his wife, Theresa, and their 18- and 21-year-old sons, recording three to four album sessions a year in his own studio (the Shade Tree Manor) in northern California and doing as much fishing as possible.
“We enjoy it here,” Haggard said, calling from his ranch near Shasta Lake and Redding, Calif. “We have a game refuge of about 180 acres with deer, bobcats, all sorts of wild things, and plenty of fish with a river on one side and a pond on the other.”
Haggard, known fondly as “The Hag” to his fans and the music community, released a new album in April, marking his first solo effort in three years, derived from one of his recording sessions in 2009 with his band the Strangers.
“What I do is I write and record music in my studio and then I take the songs and try to string up the kind of fish that fits the album so that the collection is compatible,” Haggard said.
“So with this new record, I gave it to Vanguard Records when it was finished, they loved it, took it as it was and released it.”
With one of the songs written in 1991 and others just last year, “I Am What I Am” shows the honky-tonk outlaw, who is never conventional, often confrontational and always outspoken, is like a fine wine that keeps ripening.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 13
WHERE: Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, 287 Carrizo Canyon Road, Mescalero