Rather Outspoken
My Life in the News


Riveting and revelatory autobiography.
-Publishers Weekly

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The Great Merle Haggard
posted on September 06, 2013 by Dan

I'm off to North Carolina, working a story and an interview (to Charlotte, Asheville, then Franklin...to talk with the great Merle Haggard, among others). I have long listened to much Haggard, one of the all time country music greats. Among my favorites of his: "Mama Tried," "The Fighting Side of Me," "Okie From Muskogee" --and, of course, "Sing Me Back Home," generally considered one ofthe greatest country music classics of all time. But I like almost everything Merle has recorded.

I think country music is still (always has been) an underestimated reflection of American culture and society--and of our nation's people. Elites tend to dismiss it--if not outright ridicule it. But I've said it before and say it again now: if you want to know what's really on a lot of American minds (and in many ways, in their hearts) listen to country music.

I listen to and enjoy pop, hip-hop, rock 'n roll, opera, symphony and classical music--and I'm not putting any of them down. Just speaking up for the music that's part of my roots and that I know is connected to the pulse and heartbeat of America. Having said my piece, allow me to put on recordings of Willie's "Red Headed Stranger" and Merle's "Sing Me Back Home." Maybe Waylon's "Good Hearted Woman" after that.