Merle Haggard's Final Recording 'Kern River Blues' Has Arrived

Merle Haggard 2016
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Merle Haggard performs at the Stagecoach Country music festival at The Empire Polo Club on April 24, 2015 in Indio, Calif. 

Merle Haggard's final song, "Kern River Blues," dropped today (May 12). 

The recording premiered on Willie Nelson’s SiriusXM's Willie's Roadhouse channel, before being made available to download on and iTunes.

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Penned by Haggard and featuring his son Ben on electric guitar, "Kern River Blues" is about the country great’s memories of leaving Bakersfield in the late ‘70s, according to a message posted to his official Website. The track was recorded Feb. 9 at the singer's Hag Studios as he was battling with the pneumonia that would ultimately take his life. Its lyrics carry extra weight in light of his passing. Haggard died April 6 at the age of 79.

“Well, I’m leaving town forever/Kiss an old boxcar goodbye/Well, I’m leaving town forever/Kiss an old boxcar goodbye/I dug my blues down in the river/But the old Kern River is dry,” he sings in its final verse.

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The Haggard family decided to release "Kern River Blues" as a way of “thanking everyone” for their “tremendous outpouring of love and prayers” for the artist. They've decided to donate 10% of all gross proceeds from its sale to homeless charities.

Listen to "Kern River Blues" here


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