Merle Haggard dies at age 79.
He came out of Bakersfield, and along with Buck Owens originated a new subgenre of Country Music, called the Bakersfield sound. It blended the blues and a little jazz / swing with a twangy telecaster. Best exemplified by his smash hitThat hit touches on his time in prison
. He spent time in San Quentin, and supposedly saw Cash perform there, and that inspired him to get his shit together.
His silent majority / conformist protest songs "Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me"
, etc. while well crafted, were lyrical bereft of substance, and VERY hypocritical (or more accurately - he changed his views - calling his younger self "dumb"). Even when he was pandering, his shit was tight tho. And to his credit, he was more progressive in other areas. As represented in this song:
As if the Bakersfield sound was not enough, he went on revive western swing with his Tribute to Bob Willis album (the album is all covers, but man is it great):
He also was an integral part of the County crossover scene of the '70s. Part of that included one of my very faves of his:
I know country music is considered low rent round here, but by God this man was magic.