Requiem For A Heavyweight: Merle Haggard
With the demise of Merle Haggard, an typically ignored, underestimated period of American tradition has virtually handed. Willie Nelson is now the final man standing. He, together with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, are the final dwelling giants of nation music’s golden age.
Perhaps there is a new such time already within the making. Or there will be one other someplace down the road. But, as of as we speak, these three are the final of a sure breed of really greats.
If there’s ever a Mount Rushmore of nation-music icons, Merle and Willie will probably be carved into it. So will Dolly and Loretta. But the record of different worthy candidates figures to be a mite crowded. The “Ol’ Singing Brakeman,” Jimmy Rogers, can be excessive on it, since he ushered within the interval and invented the style through the Nineteen Thirties. So would Roy Acuff, he of “Wabash Cannonball” fame. Hank Williams, definitely. And, in fact, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and perhaps Waylon Jennings. It would take an enormous mountain to accommodate the whole thing of them.
Opera, symphonic music, rock, the blues, hip-hop and so forth all have their influences on our tradition. Country music, when it is talked about in any respect, typically is handled as a sort of bastard youngster. Sometimes as simply an afterthought, whilst a humiliation — “white trash” speak and all that. But there’s nothing extra American than the perfect of nation music. Yeah, and I subscribe to the previous principle that for those who actually need to know what is going on on in our United States — if you wish to perceive the hearts and minds of a giant phase of America at any given second — take heed to nation music and you will know.
The struggles and heartaches, the fears and hopes, the angers and resentments are all there, in songs about mama, damaged romances, alcohol, decide-up vans, trains and prisons; uncooked and actual, with the feel of tears, the odor of filth and sweat, and echoes of our previous — a haunting reminder of from the place we got here and who we’re once we’re not pretending.
So, so lengthy Merle. See you on the opposite aspect. In the meantime, relaxation in peace figuring out that your music is everlasting.