1. Merle Haggard's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

    July 25, 2017 5:07 PM EDT 0 0 0 As much fun as it is putting these lists together as of late, it does bring up some interesting arguments. Somehow, we have a feeling that there will be plenty of discussion about this attempt to condense the Merle Haggard song catalog into twenty t ...

  2. Merle, Waylon, Willie, Patsy: Classic Country Takes Center Stage in Nashville

    April 12, 2017 2:22 PM EDT 0 0 0 Simpler material from another era still has a place in a high-tech world. Just days after the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards recognized the state of the genre in 2016 and 2017 on national TV, Nashville turned back the clock. Willie Nelson tape ...

  3. Sentimental Rememberances Pair With Cheerful Celebration at All-Star Merle Haggard Tribute Concert: Recap

    April 07, 2017 12:39 PM EDT 0 0 0 Thursday (Apr. 6) would have been Merle Haggard ’s 80th birthday. That it also happened to be the one-year anniversary of the country icon’s death seemed almost a cruel irony. Inside Nashville’s sold-out Bridgestone Arena, however, a celebration of ...

  4. Watch Willie Nelson's Merle Haggard Tribute 'He Won't Ever Be Gone'

    April 06, 2017 4:41 PM EDT 0 0 0 A year ago today, we lost Merle Haggard , the country music icon. And on his new album  God’s Problem Child , Willie Nelson -- Haggard’s friend, contemporary, and frequent touring buddy -- pays Haggard tribute on a new song called “He Won’t Ever Be ...

  5. Warrant's Cover of Merle Haggard's 'I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink': Video Premiere

    April 06, 2017 11:08 AM EDT 0 0 0 Metal band revamps country track as new party theme for Professional Bull Riders Covering a song that falls outside of a band’s typical genre can be tricky for a variety of reasons, especially when a legendary artist originally recorded the tune in ...

  6. Luke Bryan & Dierks Bentley Team Up for Classic Rendition of Merle Haggard's 'Ramblin' Fever' on 'Late Show'

    March 30, 2017 7:53 AM EDT 0 0 0 The two country crooners will serve as hosts of this year's ACM Awards on April 2. Before Luke Bryan  and Dierks Bentley suit up to host the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday (April 2), the singers paid tribute to their country roots wi ...

  7. Country Music, Politics & the Lingering Fear of 'Getting Dixie Chicked'

    February 15, 2017 4:50 PM EST 0 0 0 The cliche goes that country is all about the song, but one of the seismic events in the genre's recent history actually had nothing to do with music: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,& ...

  8. California Country Emerges Again, Led By Cam, Jon Pardi And Brett Young

    February 14, 2017 3:04 PM EST 0 0 0 Tired of all your country artists hailing from Georgia, Texas or Tennessee? There’s a new crop of stars-in-the-making that may be on the cusp of reviving California’s reputation as a source of fresh-sounding country music. Among them:  Cam ,  Jon Pa ...

  9. Dale Watson & Ray Benson Talk Duets Album, Differences Between 'Ameripolitan' & Americana & Country Music

    January 24, 2017 9:43 AM EST 0 0 0 The new album from Ray Benson and Dale Watson starts with "The Ballad of Dale and Ray," which sounds like a theme song for a happily sloshed country comedy revue. "I like to drink Lone Star," sings Dale. "I like to smoke pot ...

  10. Randy Rogers Band's 'Tequila Eyes': The Story Behind the Latest Melancholy Booze Classic In the Country Canon

    January 23, 2017 5:00 PM EST 0 0 0 Roughly a year ago, when the Randy Rogers Band released Nothing Shines Like Neon, they slipped one of the year's most essential country songs into the middle of the record like caramel in a Milky Way bar. That track, "Tequila Eyes," i ...

  11. Jeezy Earns His Third No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With 'Trap or Die 3'

    November 07, 2016 12:09 AM EST 0 0 0 Plus: Kenny Chesney, Meek Mill & Avenged Sevenfold Debut at Nos. 2-4 Jeezy notches his third No. 1 album -- and eighth consecutive top 10 -- on the Billboard 200 chart with the arrival of Trap or Die 3. The album, which was released on Oct. 28 t ...

  12. Here Are All the 2016 CMA Awards Performances Ranked Worst to Best

    November 03, 2016 12:15 AM EDT 0 0 0 The 2016 CMA Awards -- the 50th edition of the awards show -- drew the best of the best: every living entertainer of the year winner was present, alongside all today’s hottest up-and-coming artists. The awards themselves were special, but, particula ...

  13. The CMA Awards' Golden Anniversary: 50 Years, 50 Highlights

    November 01, 2016 2:04 PM EDT 0 0 0 George Strait, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift and even a former president are part of the trophy's history. From Jack Greene ’s triple play in the first year to Chris Stapleton ’s career-making appearance at the 49th installment, the C ...

  14. From Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift, The Stars' Most Memorable CMA Moments Across the Decades

    October 28, 2016 2:40 PM EDT 0 0 2 On October 20, 1967, Bobbie Gentry -- fresh off of her career-defining smash “Ode To Billy Joe" -- joined fellow hitmaker Sonny James on stage at Nashville Municipal Auditorium to host the first Country Music Association Awards Banquet and Show ...

  15. Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to Honor the 'Timeless' Work of the Late Townes Van Zandt

    October 07, 2016 11:44 AM EDT 0 0 0 This Sunday, his peers will honor the late, legendary Texas songwriter. "Townes Van Zandt ranks alongside Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan,” says Grammy-winning country artist Rodney Crowell of the late singer-songwriter. “He inspired so many s ...

  16. Morgan Wallen's Debut, 
'The Way I Talk,' Riffs on Accents

    October 06, 2016 10:47 AM EDT 0 0 0 The label that launched Chris Lane introduces Wallen with a catchy, hooky country single. Three notes might well make Morgan Wallen a star. A simple little guitar riff is ... ahem ...  instrumental in the sound of “The Way I Talk,” Wallen’s debut si ...

  17. Garth Brooks' SiriusXM Channel a Tech Toy With Some Big Advantages

    September 19, 2016 1:14 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Garth Channel advances the country icon's life-long relationship with radio. During his commercial peak years in the 1990s, Garth Brooks was a staunch defender of country radio, famously resisting Capitol Records’ efforts to work his single ...

  18. Is Country Music More Polarized Than Ever Before?

    September 13, 2016 5:33 PM EDT 0 0 0 Following Sturgill Simpson's Facebook diatribe, the decades-long battle between country music's various factions continues. Last month, Sturgill Simpson wrote a less-than-polite note to the Academy of Country Music, the institution behind ...

  19. Jason Aldean Works Back to His Core Sound With 'They Don't Know'

    September 13, 2016 11:01 AM EDT 0 0 0 Jason Aldean  had plenty of cause for head-scratching. On Aug. 30, the Academy of Country Music started its annual ACM Honors by presenting him the Triple Crown, a cumulative trophy that recognizes acts that have been named new artist, vocalist and ...

  20. Sturgill Simpson Rails Against Nashville for Disrespecting and Exploiting Merle Haggard

    August 30, 2016 1:57 AM EDT 0 0 0 Sturgill Simpson just picked a fight with Nashville and the machinery behind the country music biz.  Only minutes before the Academy of Country Music officially unveiled  Miranda Lambert as the recipient of the new Merle Haggard Spirit Award, a fire ...

  21. Neil Young, Olivia Newton-John and Michael Buble to Feature on Dan Rather's 'Big Interview'

    August 22, 2016 10:42 PM EDT 0 0 0 Neil Young is Dan Rather's first guest for the new edition of Rather's series, The Big Interview . Young will be featured on the Sept. 13 episode airing at 8 p.m. EDT on AXS TV, the cable and satellite channel said Monday. The singer-songw ...

  22. Inside Charlie Daniels' Improbable Ride Into the Country Music Hall of Fame

    August 10, 2016 1:20 PM EDT 0 0 0 "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" helps the new inductee bridge country music and southern rock. When Charlie Daniels stopped on March 31, 1967, to put gas in the tank of his vehicle on his way out of Nashville, he noticed a lot of activity ...

  23. Jake Owen Shares His Summer Road Trip Playlist

    July 29, 2016 9:27 AM EDT 0 0 0 Over the last decade, Jake Owen has earned a reputation for bringing beach-bum breeziness to the country airwaves. But the 34-year-old Florida native has rarely sounded more footloose than he does during the leisurely, loop-laced country-funk number ...

  24. Freddy Powers, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies at 84

    June 22, 2016 7:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 Country artist Freddy Powers died on Tuesday at the age of 84, ending a long battle with Parkinson's disease.  The singer, songwriter, musician and producer worked with Merle Haggard for decades, the two of them penning chart-topping hits such ...

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

    May 12, 2016 10:16 PM EDT 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 merlehaggard.com and iT ...

  26. Toby Keith Reflects on His 'Idol' Merle Haggard Ahead of Tribute

    April 28, 2016 1:47 AM EDT 0 0 0 Country star Toby Keith said it was always a thrill to perform with Merle Haggard , whether it was playing together for fun or helping Haggard finish one of his last shows before his death at age 79. The "Beer for My Horses" singer-songwri ...

  27. Tom Waits Shares Moving Tribute to Merle Haggard

    April 20, 2016 3:25 AM EDT 0 0 0 Tom Waits has penned a touching tribute to the late country great Merle Haggard .  Waits, who grew up around San Diego, not far from where Haggard was born, recalls how his formative years were shaped by the iconic artist. “When I was a teenager I w ...

  28. Merle Haggard: Born an Outsider, Died an Icon

    April 15, 2016 1:09 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sometime in the 1970s, when country artists still frowned upon overdubbing their recordings, Merle Haggard went into the control booth after a performance to consult with Jim Williamson, who engineered the bulk of Haggard's sessions for roughly ...

  29. 'Merle Did Things His Way': Country Radio Programmers Cite Haggard's Enduring Influence

    April 13, 2016 12:53 PM EDT 0 0 0 Merle Haggard ’s death from pneumonia on April 6 hit many country radio programmers hard, and left them pausing to reflect on the County Music Hall of Famer’s profound and lasting influence on the format. For some, “Hag” was part of the reason they ...

  30. Merle Haggard's Songs Celebrated at 'All For The Hall' Concert in Nashville

    April 13, 2016 1:35 AM EDT 0 0 0 The Sixth Annual “All For The Hall” concert, held last night (April 12) at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, turned into a Merle Haggard  tribute. Several of the performers -- all of whom donated their time and talents to benefit the Country Music Hall ...

  31. Takeover Tuesday: Miranda Lambert's 'Keeper of the Flame' Tour Playlist

    April 12, 2016 4:38 PM EDT 0 0 0 Welcome back to  Takeover Tuesday , where each week  Billboard  taps charting artists and tastemakers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard 's Spotify account . We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever sub ...

  32. Merle Haggard Laid to Rest in Private Ceremony Officiated by Marty Stuart

    April 11, 2016 11:51 AM EDT 0 0 0 Outlaw country icon  Merle Haggard was laid to rest in a private funeral service on Saturday on the "Silver Wings" singer's Palo Cedro, California, ranch. Haggard, who died April 6 at age 79 after a battle with pneumonia, was remember ...

  33. Why Is An Album Of Merle Haggard Re-Recordings His Top Seller At iTunes?

    April 08, 2016 4:48 PM EDT In a strange turn of events, the top-selling Merle Haggard album on iTunes in the days immediately following his death on March 6 is a collection called 40 Greatest Hits -- containing not the original, familiar versions of the country legend’s best ...

  34. Jason Isbell on Merle Haggard's Gift: He Was 'Always Able to Live Inside His Songs'

    April 08, 2016 1:11 PM EDT 0 0 0 Acclaimed singer-songwriter  Jason Isbell  shares the secrets of Merle Haggard's greatness: empathy. Merle Haggard was the best country songwriter there ever was. You always felt like he had experienced the things that he was writing about, and ...

  35. Garth Brooks Remembers Merle Haggard: He Was 'The Greatest Country Artist of All Time' (Exclusive)

    April 08, 2016 1:04 PM EDT Like millions, Garth Brooks grew up on the music of Merle Haggard . Below, in his own words, he shares some of his memories of the legend, who died April 6.  The first song of Haggard’s I remember hearing [was] “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down.” Th ...

  36. Merle Haggard on Death: 'Sometimes I Fear It and Other Times It Calls to Me Like a Forgotten Dream' (Exclusive)

    April 06, 2016 5:34 PM EDT 0 0 0 Last summer Merle Haggard invited me to his ranch outside Redding, Calif., to discuss collaborating on an autobiography that was never realized.   “Might start off with a story about Bob Eubanks,” said Merle, “the host of The Newlyweds . I’ve known ...

  37. Country Legend Merle Haggard Dead at 79

    April 06, 2016 2:36 PM EDT 0 0 0 Merle Haggard , who overcame a youth of deprivation and imprisonment to become one of the enduring figures in hardcore country music, died Wednesday morning (April 6) in California at age 79. Associated Press reports his manager confirmed Haggard di ...

  38. Merle Haggard Dead at 79: Artists React to Loss of the Outlaw Country Icon

    April 06, 2016 1:59 PM EDT Country icon Merle Haggard died Wednesday morning (April 6) on his 79th birthday. Country artists, singer-songwriters and musicians across the nation are reacting online to the news.  Country Legend Merle Haggard Dead at 79 Read their reactions be ...

  39. Billy Joel, Metallica and The Supremes' Songs Named to National Recording Registry

    March 23, 2016 3:08 AM EDT 0 0 0 Timeless tunes from Billy Joel ("Piano Man"), Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive"), The Supremes ("Where Did Our Love Go"), John Coltrane ("A Love Supreme") and Merle Haggard ("Mama Tried") have been sel ...

  40. Merle Haggard Back In Hospital With Pneumonia

    March 02, 2016 1:03 AM EST 0 0 0 Country icon Merle Haggard is in a California hospital for treatment of a recurring bout of double pneumonia. A statement from his publicist on Tuesday said Haggard has had to postpone his concert dates in March. Merle Haggard Returns to the Stage A ...

  41. Merle Haggard Nixes Live Shows Due to Illness

    February 04, 2016 3:07 AM EST 0 0 0 Country legend Merle Haggard has scrapped the remainder of his live schedule for the month of February due to ill health.  Haggard has struggled with double pneumonia of late. The Country Music Hall of Famer canceled a performance just prior to taki ...

  42. Red Simpson, Pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound, Dies at 81

    January 09, 2016 6:15 PM EST 0 0 0 Red Simpson , who helped serve as an architect to the Bakersfield Sound, has died. He was 81. Simpson was on a tour in the Pacific Northwest recently when he suffered a heart attack. After being released, he fell ill again on Friday (Jan. 8) and was ...

  43. Gatlin Brothers Defend Controversial Songs About Guns, Religion: 'Everybody Is So Sensitive'

    November 20, 2015 5:41 PM EST "Young Jewish Lawyer" & "An American With a Remington," from new album "The Gospel According to Gatlin," have raised eyebrows. The latest album from Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers is called The Gospel Accord ...

  44. Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood Picks His Top 5 Country Artists of All Time

    November 12, 2015 9:00 AM EST 0 0 0 Lady Antebellum 's Dave Haywood tells Billboard  that picking his five favorite country artists "may be the hardest question of all time. How do you pick just five? You're making it really hard!" See the All-Time Charts:  Billboa ...

  45. Jon Pardi Brings Joy to the Job With Cheery 'Head Over Boots'

    September 28, 2015 2:02 PM EDT The Capitol artist finds trad-country inspiration in Texas. “Everybody needs a happy song.” And Jon Pardi is happy to oblige, especially if it means he can keep making music. His debut album, 2014’s Write You a Song , established him as a guy wit ...

  46. Jerrod Niemann Ties 'Blue Bandana' 
to a Slew of Unlikely Summer Festivals

    August 06, 2015 11:16 AM EDT 0 0 0 Jake Owen passed on the rocking song, which name-checks festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella For decades, state and county fairs were the key part of the summer touring season for country artists. But in recent years, festivals have become at l ...

  47. Merle Haggard Talks Health Scare, Younger Fans and Sturgill Simpson: 'He's Got Something'

    August 04, 2015 2:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 When Merle Haggard headlines the first two nights of Ink-N-Iron Nashville on Aug. 6-7, he'll do so in a rare manner. It's a significant anniversary year for him -- 50 years since he released his first album and started a band, The Stranger ...

  48. Nashville's Biggest Songwriters Speak Out About the Lack of Women on Country Radio and the Songs They Wish They Wrote

    July 23, 2015 12:02 PM EDT 0 0 0 Hitmakers are the lifeblood of country music. “Songwriting is sort of a 9-to-5 job in Nashville,” says Michael Dulaney, who has collaborated on singles with  Tanya Tucker and Jason Aldean . Unlike in other genres, where artists and producers disappe ...

  49. Luke Bryan Says He Misspoke When He Equated Outlaw Country to Drug Use

    July 15, 2015 4:40 PM EDT 0 0 0 Country star Luke Bryan said he misspoke when he differentiated himself from outlaw country musicians like Willie Nelson , Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings by saying he doesn't do drugs. Bryan, the reigning Country Music Association and Academ ...

  50. Don Henley Previews Star-Studded New Album 'Cass County' in Nashville

    June 12, 2015 6:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 The week of the CMA Music Festival brings a wide variety of public figures to Nashville. One of the biggest sightings in town on Thursday was the legendary Don Henley , who stopped by Nashville’s Ruby to give invited guests a first listen to some of ...

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