I mean, if you’re gonna tip the cap to Merle Haggard, there might not be a better crew to do it with.
On April 6th, 2016, the country music world lost a legend named Merle Haggard.
Merle was scheduled to play a show in Enid, Oklahoma, with Willie Nelson a few days later. At the time, Willie was also touring with two other guys you might’ve heard of… Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton.
They also happened to recruit this other guy that you may have heard of… Ryan Bingham
In honor of the great Merle Haggard who was supposed to be performing there that night, Jamey, Chris, his wife Morgane and Ryan Bingham took the stage for an all-star tribute performance of “Sing Me Back Home.”
And they performed a number of other Merle tunes that night as well.
Jamey Johnson introduced this particular performance as such:
“It amazes me to think that this man wrote this song.”
Not sure if it gets much better than this.
Jamey Johnson On The Importance Of Covering The All-Time Greats
Wisdom from a legend.
Jamey Johnson is about as real as they come, as he prides himself in writing songs about real life, everything from hardships growing up, to personal experiences.
Recently, he sat down for an interview with the Country Music Hall of Fame, discussing the importance of carrying on the legacy of country stars who both inspired and came before him.
In the video, he talks about how many of the all time greats in country music have passed on, from Merle Haggard, to Johnny Cash, to George Jones.
His biggest fear is that shallow songwriting about “beer” and “partyin'” could erase the memory and importance of the true country music legends.
“Without people like me out there covering their songs, they just stop. If nobody was singing Johnny Cash, there’s a whole generation that would grow up without Johnny Cash. And if you ask me, that’s not gonna be a good world.
The young artists today… it’s important they learn those songs, it’s important that they pass it along. That you pay respect but that you also pass along the ministry of those important singers.
They had a lot to say that matters.”
He also discussed how he didn’t realize the importance and relatability of those songs until a little later in his music career:
“You don’t realize that until you get some age to ya… when I was young, I didn’t understand Merle Haggard lyrics, the same way that I did when I got to be 25, 30, 40 years old. Those lyrics hold more truth, and more wisdom, and more meaning than you could possibly realize.
I just view myself as a torch that’s passing down (music) from one generation to the next, and if I could be used in that way, maybe that’s a good purpose.”
Real recognizes real.
All I gotta say is, we need some new Jamey Johnson music soon. It’s been way too long.
Unfortunately, we got a false alarm here recently as one of Johnson’s bandmates told the world there was a new album in the works, but Johnson declined the rumors.
And speaking of covers, check out this badass video of Jamey covering a George Jones medley: