A man that strode onto stage, guitar in hand as a poet of the common man. The ultimate anti-hero, the one that threw up not the thumb, the pinky, or the ring, but the one that told the world he just don’t care. Merle Haggard, as you know wasn’t a stranger to hard times or doing time; with incarceration came his inspiration. He, unlike Cash, didn’t just merely go sing to the desolate, disoriented doormats of society, Merle actually lived the life in San Quentin State Prison.
Time being served can make a man as hard as the penitentiary steel that surrounds him. Just revisit “Mama Tried” or “Branded Man” and as you listen, you’ll hear that familiar baritone suffused with dignity and regret. As I think on this, to really sing about suffering, shouldn’t the one tormented actually have had a couple shots of Old Crow in the Den of Iniquity?
Someone once wrote: Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Yes friends, this is not only a guitar you’re looking at, it’s also an interpretive piece on the perspective of how some people’s decisions have made them co-dependent on others to save their very soul, while to the chosen few, their souls were forged in the fire of indignant, self-deprecation and yet they soar to the highest level of self-awareness.
The story of Mr.Haggard isn’t a story of a man that fell, but of a man that fell only to regain proper footing and ascend to the greatest height- where only eagles dare. You know, that’s why he sang to the common man, not unlike God himself, who, in fact, walked among us once upon a time. Merle knew too well that, from the fall would come his rise and therein lies the lesson. Don’t you see? The history of the greatest of men are written for us mere mortals to understand and there is one thing more powerful than doubt and that is hope.
People, believe and hope in a better tomorrow and there shall it be. Can I get an Amen?