Merle Haggard Joins Marty Stuart Show For TV Performance

This  appeared on - February 6, 2013

Sometimes, what we like to call surreal experiences are merely the odd juxtaposition of ordinary events.

And sometimes that juxtaposition brings two extraordinary folks together, as in what happened at a taping of The Marty Stuart Show on Monday night.

Merle Haggard
 rolled into town on his Super Chief bus for Stuart’s twangtastic show which airs on RFD-TV.

While Stuart is an equal opportunity distributor of gracious good cheer, he considers Haggard one of the true pillars of all that is right and good in country music, so the air was charged with anticipation.

We all know that Stuart has a healthy appreciation for stage craft, especially for those outfits with enough reflective wattage to light half the Superdome. Even his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, wear matching numbers, so studded with sequins that they wink and smile when they catch the light.

Not the Hag. He stands there in a black suit, a rumpled brown fedora, and a T-shirt with a logo for some unrecognizable New York athletic venue.

And that juxtaposition just plain works, because of the love and respect those men have for each other. One man who cares deeply about image, down to his trademark mane, standing next to another who couldn’t give a flying flip.

And neither disappointed. Backed by Stuart and the Superlatives, along with Hag’s wife, Theresa, and son Bennie, “the poet of the common man” reminded every lucky soul in that studio audience why his music matters today as much as when it resonated through the AM airwaves 40 years ago.

He didn’t sing “Mama Tried,” but plied the sweetly dark and redemptive prelude to that story with “Mama’s Prayer.” Blake Shelton might not get that, but Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Hank Williams III, who were there, certainly did.

During the taping, Haggard make a head-scratching joke about Waffle House. Instead of saying that you need to drop the “W” to describe the place, he said you drop the “H.” The moment went quickly by.

Later, when the show was over, you couldn’t help but notice a tall yellow sign across the street beckoning motorists on Dickerson Pike. It spelled Waffle on top, but the “H” below was burned out. And somewhere on the Super Chief, a keen observer who makes the mundane superlative, must have been chuckling to himself.

By Jim Myers

Return To Articles Return To Home Page