Marty Stuart Remembers Friend Merle Haggard

This appeared on -  April 6, 2016

Marty Stuart, one of Merle Haggard's dearest friends, will be officiating his funeral. Stuart said he and his wife, country star Connie Smith will also be singing.

Stuart said he just spoke with Haggard on the phone a couple of weeks ago.  

“One of my greatest treasures in life, he would call me and say, ‘I got a song.’ And I'd say, ‘Let me hear about it,’” Stuart said.

Up until his last days Haggard was writing.

“He sounded really weak, but he said, ‘I've got a new song.’ And I said, ‘What's it called?’ He said ‘My Last Escape.’ And I just started laughing,” Stuart said.

It was a style that never swayed.

“He was a workin’ man's poet and a workin’ man's singer. He lived his life by those standards and he was a traditional country music man. He was the common man,” Stuart said.

The two have been friends for 25 years and have shared the stage multiple times. They've also written together.

“I wrote, ‘I Walked the Land.’ He said, ‘How about I Worked the Land?’ And I said, ‘That's why you're Merle Haggard.’ He made that one little lyrical change and it turned the song into a totally different song,” Stuart said.

Stuart will be leading Haggard’s service and will also sing "Silver Wings" with Smith.

It was Haggard's wishes, but he never told Stuart. He just found out.

“I got a call today they want me to officiate over the service. Thanks Merle,” Stuart said.

And as the honky tonks along the bright lights of Broadway honor “The Hag,” it gives comfort to friends to know the working man's music lives on.

Stuart also said whether something great was going on his life or he was going through troubles, Haggard was always one of the first to call him. He said it was a friendship he'll always cherish.

Return To Articles Return To Home Page