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Merle Haggard News

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Band Scores Its First No. 1 Album

6/11/2015 8:15am EDT
Florence + The Machine Debuts At No. 1 On The Billboard 200
Men, women, and children everywhere, get ready for a total shocker on the albums chart this week. Florence + The Machine scores its first #1 album of its career with How Big, How Big, How Beautiful. Total shocker right? – Totally NOT as all indications suggested that front woman Florence Welch and company was about to “come up.” Kudos, as the alternative band impacted to the tune of 137,000 units, most of which were sales themselves. Compared to the opening performance of previous album Ceremonials, how does the sales of How Big… compare? In sales alone, How Big… wins, with about a 25,00...

Lots Of New Albums To Check Out This Week

6/2/2015 10:14am EDT
Florence And The Machine Leads Albums To Check Out
A new month (June) and a truckload of new releases – literally! June opens with a number of musicians looking to share their latest creations with the world. While there isn’t that ‘homerun’ artist and album dropping a new effort, there are more than enough choices for music listeners to sink their teeth into. Arguably, the packed field is headed by the return of Florence + The Machine, but the others are all “in it to win it” too. Here are eight albums to check out.

1) Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Island)

Florence Welch, aka Florence + The Machine, ret...

Five Best Performances From The 2014 Grammys

1/28/2014 1:05am EST
Daft Punk Grammys
With so many great live performances at Sunday night's 56th Grammy Awards, it's been hard* whittling them all down to the five best. Well, the five best that didn't include any weddings, Broadway adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood meets Harry Potter meets Showgirls, or cut-off performances, that is.

The night was all about mixing the past with the present, and in some cases the past, present and future.

5. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton: 2/4 of the original Highwaymen with the legendary Haggard and modern Country giant Shelton wasn't the tightest voc...

Merle Haggard Keen To Get Back On The Road After Health Scare

2/9/2012 10:07pm EST
Merle Haggard
Country legend Merle Haggard is heading back out on the road after a battle with pneumonia and other ailments forced him to scrap shows last month.

Doctors discovered the "Okie From Muskogee" singer was suffering from three stomach ulcers, polyps in his colon and diverticulitis of the esophagus when he was admitted to a Georgia hospital.

The 74 year old has spent the past few weeks recovering at his ranch in Palo Cedro, California - and now he's looking to get back on tour again and he's in rehearsals with his band The Strangers.

He says, "I'm feeling good and ready to get back on the bu...

Country Legend Merle Haggard Hospitalized

1/18/2012 11:45am EST
Merle Haggard has been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness, forcing him to scrap a concert in Georgia at the last minute on Tuesday.

The musician was taken ill shortly before his scheduled slot at the Macon City Auditorium and promoters abruptly announced the show wasn't going ahead minutes before the Okie from Muskogee hitmaker was due on stage.

Haggard's tour manager, Frank Mull, reveals the singer has felt sick since leaving his home in California last week.

Promoters have also scrapped his gig in Columbus, Georgia on Wednesday as he recuperates, and he is next due on stage in Ke...

Vince Gill 'Deflated' By Radio Station Snub

11/1/2011 1:25pm EDT
Vince Gill
Country star Vince Gill is upset his songs have been sidelined from radio playlists and feels "deflated" by the lack of interest in his music.

The 54 year old released his latest album Guitar Slinger last month but lead single Threaten Me with Heaven only reached number 42 on the U.S. country charts.

Gill blames the lack of radio station interest for the poor chart position, and is convinced ageing country legends Merle Haggard and George Jones suffer a similar fate.

He tells the Associated Press, "I just felt like, 'Don't stop playing them because of their age'. If they're not as goo...

Merle Haggard Impressed By 'Humble' President Obama

12/29/2010 10:47am EST
Merle Haggard
Country music legend Merle Haggard has stepped up to defend beleaguered President Barack Obama after meeting him earlier this month and discovering he's nothing like his media portrayal.

Haggard met Obama at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. - where he was feted alongside Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey, among others, for his lifetime services to the arts - and he insists the President is a great guy.

The singer/songwriter tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It's really almost criminal what they (media) do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him...

Paul McCartney & Oprah Among 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees

9/7/2010 4:45pm EDT
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney and TV titan Oprah Winfrey will be feted by President Barack Obama this December as part of the annual Kennedy Center Honors.

The Beatles legend was previously set to receive the award in 2002 but was forced to back out of the ceremony due to a personal commitment. This time around, McCartney will be joined by Winfrey, as well as country singer Merle Haggard, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones, the co-creator of hit musical Fela!.

The 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors, which recognize performing artists for their contribut...

Betty White Among The California Hall Of Fame Inductees

7/8/2010 6:00pm EDT
Betty White
Superstar Barbra Streisand, Golden Girl Betty White and director James Cameron are set to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame among the class of 2010.

Action man-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has selected 14 honorees for the December ceremony. Country singer Merle Haggard, tennis ace Serena Williams and founder Mark Zuckerberg are also set to be honored by the state.

Unveiling the 2010 inductees, Schwarzenegger said the group of artists, sports stars, business pioneers and politicians "make me proud to call California home."

The California Hall...

Merle Haggard Slams America's Anti-Smoking Laws

5/4/2010 4:30pm EDT
Merle Haggard
Country legend Merle Haggard has blasted anti-smoking laws and street surveillance cameras in the U.S. - insisting prisoners enjoy more freedom than the general public.

The Okie from Muskogee singer spent three years in California's notorious San Quentin prison in the 1950s for attempted burglary. And he is adamant creeping social reform in the U.S. is impinging on citizens' freedoms and civil liberties.

He tells Uncut magazine, "I hate to say this, but politically speaking, there was more freedom in San Quentin when I was there than there is in the streets of America now. Everything yo...

Wynonna's Album 'Sing - Chapter 1' Out Feb. 3; Free NYC Concert Feb. 4

1/23/2009 11:13am EST
Wynonna Judd
Twenty five: the number of years the incredible songtress Wynonna Judd has been bringing her amazing voice, her inspirational stories and her unique blend of country, soul and good 'ol Rock'n'Roll to the masses. In celebration of this illustrious career, Wynonna will be releasing her 7th studio album in 2009 - an eclectic assortment of standards paying homage to all the different genres and songs that have formed the soundtrack to her own life. Produced by long time collaborators Don Potter and Brent Mahar and recorded at Sound Kitchen, The Blue Room Studios and East Iris Studios in Nashv...

Emmylou Harris' New Album, 'All I Intended To Be,' Out June 10

6/2/2008 8:00pm EDT
Emmylou Harris
Nonesuch Records will release Emmylou Harris' new album All I Intended to Be on June 10. This is Harris' third release on Nonesuch and her first solo effort since 2003's Stumble Into Grace. Of the selected material, Harris explains, "I've always seen myself as a relentless song-finder, a singer of other people's work whom I admire greatly, and an occasional songwriter." A North American summer tour in support of the record begins May 23 in California with more dates to be announced soon.

Recorded over a four-year span primarily at producer Brian Ahern's Easter Island Surround in Nashv...

Billy Bob Thornton And The Boxmasters To Release Debut 2-CD Set June 10

4/20/2008 9:30am EDT
Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters
Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters, composed of W.R. 'Bud' Thornton (drums, vocals/background vocals), J.D. Andrew (electric/acoustic guitars, bass, background vocals) and Mike Butler (electric guitar, lap steel, dobro), join forces with Vanguard Records to release their debut 2-CD set, June 10 on Sawmill/Vanguard Records. The 23 tracks on The Boxmasters feature original songs penned and co-penned by Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew. They also include some classic cover tunes with a distinctive flair. The Boxmasters was produced by W.R. 'Bud' Thornton and GRAMMY®-winning engineer J.D....

Jewel To Mentor & Judge The Search For The Next 'Nashville Star'

4/10/2008 11:58am EDT
Multi-Platinum singer-songwriter and three time Grammy nominee Jewel has signed on to find the next "Nashville Star" when the series premieres on NBC on Monday, June 9 (9:30-11 p.m. ET). Jewel joins previously announced judge/mentor John Rich -- the producer of her latest album, "Perfectly Clear" and one half of the country duo Big & Rich.

"As a young artist, I really benefited from having great mentors like Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard. They took me under their wings and encouraged me to stand up for things that, as an artist, are important. They constantly reminded me that an artist's...

Emmylou Harris Rarities Take Flight On 'Songbird'; Win The Set

9/19/2007 8:00pm EDT
Emmylou Harris
LOS ANGELES -- 12-time Grammy Award-winner Emmylou Harris retraces the back roads of her remarkable musical journey that spans more than three decades with a highly personalized, far-reaching boxed set spotlighting her favorite tracks and difficult-to-find or previously unreleased gems.

Rhino lets one of the most instantly recognizable voices of any genre call the tunes for this four-CD and one-DVD collection of career favorites, difficult-to-find material and live performances from her days with Gram Parsons and, later, the Hot Band to her bluegrass material and her fascinating concep...

Lonestar Returns To Country Music Scene With Stop At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

9/14/2007 8:00pm EDT
LEBANON, TENN. (September 12, 2007) – After years of touring and releasing platinum selling records, Lonestar has built a strong and loyal following of music fans across the country. The band is about to hit the road again, this time with a new lead singer and a new Christmas CD that's only available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations and online at

"It's an honor to be involved with Cracker Barrel on this project. I can't think of a better combination than Lonestar, Christmas and Cracker Barrel," said Lonestar's Keech Rainwater. "These recordings are a p...

Father Of The Solid-Body Electric Guitar Tells His Own Story In New Documentary 'Les Paul: Chasing Sound!'

6/21/2007 8:00pm EDT
Les Paul
Now 92-years young, the legendary Les Paul, father of the solid-body electric guitar, inventor of overdubbing and multi-track recording, king of the '50s pop charts and rock 'n' roll pioneer, tells his own rags-to-riches story in a performance-filled documentary by filmmakers John Paulson and James Arntz. From his hometown in Waukesha to Chicago, Nashville, Hollywood and the National Inventor's Hall of Fame, follow the life and times of this irrepressible superstar. Featuring interviews with music greats Jeff Beck, Tony Bennett, B.B. King, Steve Miller, Bucky Pizzarelli, Bonnie Raitt, Phi...

Celebrity Birthdays, April 6

4/6/2007 3:00am EDT
Zach Braff
Happy Birthday to "Full House" actress Candace Cameron Bure (1976), "Scrubs" star Zach Braff (1975), actress Ari Meyers (1969), "Slither" actor Michael Rooker (1955), "Taxi" actress Marilu Henner (1952), "Cheers" actor John Ratzenberger (1947), producer/director Barry Levinson (1942), master of the pan flute Zamfir (1941), "The Empire Strikes Back" actor Billy Dee Williams (1937), country legend Merle Haggard (1937), German composer Andre Previn (1929), and legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy (1866; d. 1909).

Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson & Ray Price Record First Album Together

1/20/2007 10:00am EST
Willie Nelson
They just don't make 'em like they used to. That is, until now. Country Music Hall of Famers Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ray Price have joined together to record the appropriately titled "Last Of The Breed." The trio's first album together will be released by Lost Highway on March 20.

"Last Of The Breed" is a two-disc, 22-song collection of newly recorded versions of country classics by three of the genres most important and influential artists. It was recorded in Nashville and produced by the extraordinary Fred Foster, who also produced Nelson's 2006 Grammy nominated You Don't Kn...

Grateful Dead Release Historic 1976 New Year's Eve Show On Three-Disc HDCD Jan. 23

1/10/2007 11:27am EST
Grateful Dead
Habital listeners of the Grateful Dead's live recordings are known for their ability to identify the year of a performance by listening to just a few notes. But for even the most "dead"icated listener, the band's 1976 New Year's Eve concert presents a genuine challenge. Rarely does any Dead show display the essence of several distinct periods of their sound, but this release contains the best elements of three or four clearly defined eras, and the sum of the parts adds up to one of the most interesting and inspired concerts of the band's 30-year performing career. The Grateful Dead and Rhin...

Dierks Bentley's Third Album, "Long Trip Alone," Hits Stores Oct. 17

10/12/2006 8:00pm EDT
Dierks Bentley
"I think every album has been a snapshot of where I've been at that moment in time," says Dierks Bentley. "This album is a conscious effort to tie in the road and the studio. There's a vein throughout the whole album of the bigger thoughts and questions that you have when you spend too much time on the road, and you grow up a little bit and start thinking beyond songs about beer and little white tank tops. From the outset, this record was always going to be really different than the previous records."

The last few years have seen Bentley emerge as the hottest young star in country musi...

Celebrity Birthdays, April 6

4/6/2006 3:05am EDT
Zach Braff
Happy Birthday to "Full House" actress Candace Cameron Bure (1976), "Scrubs" star Zach Braff (1975), actress Ari Meyers (1969), "Slither" actor Michael Rooker (1955), "Taxi" actress Marilu Henner (1952), "Cheers" actor John Ratzenberger (1947), producer/director Barry Levinson (1942), master of the pan flute Zamfir (1941), "The Empire Strikes Back" actor Billy Dee Williams (1937), country legend Merle Haggard (1937), German composer Andre Previn (1929), and legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy (1866; d. 1909).

Country Legends To Perform on Academy of Country Music TV Special

11/8/2005 7:35am EST
George Strait
Country music superstars Alabama, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack and more will appear on the Academy of Country Music's 40th Anniversary Celebration, a new entertainment special to be broadcast Saturday, December 3, (9:00-11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The special, which was taped May 18 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, will celebrate the rich heritage of the Academy of Country Music.