Merle Haggard Goes Bluegrass

This appeared in Country Standard Time - July 8, 2007

After more than 40 years in country, Merle Haggard is going in a different direction - bluegrass. He will release The Bluegrass Sessions October 2 through Del McCoury's label, McCoury Music.

The disc will feature a duet with Alison Krauss on the Haggard's classic "Mama's Hungry Eyes." Marty Stuart contributes guitar and mandolin on the sessions recorded at Ricky Skaggs' Tennessee studio in two days.

"Each take became a performance. Merle's singing was totally inspired,' Stuart wrote in the liner notes. 'In fact, he got to the point where he didn't even go into the control room to listen to playbacks. There was no need. All of us knew what we were doing was right.'

Haggard said, "I really enjoyed doing it, and I hope this is just Volume One."

The disc features reworked Hag classics, such as "Big City," several new Haggard tracks and a few bluegrass standards, including the Delmore Brothers' album-ending "Blues Stay Away From Me." A medley of Jimmy Rodgers songs also was recorded.

This marks a busy period for Haggard. In March, he released "Last of the Breed" along with Willie Nelson and Ray Price. They are touring this summer behind that release.

Return To Articles Return To Home Page