The star-studded concert honoring Merle Haggard a year after his death has finally been released. Some of the Okie from Muskogee’s famous friends perform some of his best songs.
Called Sing Me Back Home, the show was filmed in Nashville in April 2017. It was a year after Haggard’s death on what would have been his 80th birthday. You can stream the show or buy a double album recording of it here.
The Music Of Merle Haggard featured performances by Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., Toby Keith, The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Alabama, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Miller, Jake Owen, Chris Janson, Aaron Lewis, John Anderson, Bobby Bare, Tanya Tucker, Connie Smith, Ben Haggard. Check out a tracklist from the double album here.
Haggard had 38 No. 1 country hits during his career. So there is a deep bench of songs performers can pull from when trying to honor him.
Merle Haggard Co-Wrote Song on Sturgill Simpson Album
Merle Haggard continues to put out music despite the fact he died in 2016. Just last week, Sturgill Simpson released a song on his new Cuttin’ Grass Volume 2 album that features a song co-written by Haggard.
It’s a stripped down bluegrass song called Hobo Cartoon.
“Merle loved bluegrass, so it felt like a proper homage, really exposed and stripped down to the root of something,” Simpson said.
Simpson and Haggard became fast friends late in Haggard’s life. The two bonded over a shared love.
“We got to know each other in the last two years of his life,” Simpson told Rolling Stone. “He would call a lot, we’d talk on the phone. When he got sick, he was still writing songs, even in his hospital bed. This just popped up one day in the inbox — he sent me these lyrics in a text and he said, ‘From one railroad man to another.’”
Haggard was obsessed with trains. Simpson even worked on a railroad in Utah.
“Maybe I’ll recut it with a hard country band one day, but it just seemed like a beautiful way to end this chapter,” Simpson says.