Word Out

Haggard and Jennings are country favorites

I am not going to pretend I know a lot about country music because I do not.

However, what I do know is I like a number of songs by late Country artists Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.

Much of my appreciation was developed after seeing them in concert ‚ albeit 41 years apart.

I saw Haggard Oct. 6, 2014 at Stephens Auditorium in Ames.

Here was a man with 63 studio, eight live, and 26 compilation albums and hundreds of concert performances over 50+ years.

Add 24 singles, and 38, yes 38, No. 1 hits.

What a career trajectory — from San Quentin prison inmate to Country Hall of Fame to a Kennedy Center honoree.

Haggard, and his legendary traveling band, The Strangers, put on a good show that night in Ames.

The crowd was eager for Haggard’s “Bakersfield (Calif.) Sound” — style music, and he did not disappoint.

Later, I learned Haggard had been beset by health issues, and canceled a number of concerts.

He died in Apri of 2016 at age 79.

“Mama Tried,” covered by the Grateful Dead among many other bands, was my favorite Haggard song.

Other well-known hits are “Sing a Sad Song,” “Okie from Muskogee,” “Big City,” “Silver Wings” and “Lonesome Fugitive.”

Go back 44 years, and Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Gordon Lightfoot were live on stage at the University of Iowa Fieldhouse in late 1973.

I do not recall what Jennings played that night, but over the years I came to appreciate “Luckenbach, Texas,” “Good Hearted Woman,” “I’m A Ramblin’ Man,” “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” “Are You Ready For The Country,” and “Amanda” among others.

Later, an appearance on “Austin City Limits” fortified my enthusiasm for Jennings.

A Texas native, Jennings died in 2002 at age 64.


Contact Mike Donahey at mdonahey@timesrepublican.com