DAVID BIANCULLI

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Remembering Merle Haggard
April 6, 2016  | By Jim Davis
 
The country music singer/songwriter died Wednesday (4/6) on his 79th birthday. A 1990 profile in the New Yorker observed: "He is also an accomplished instrumentalist, playing a to-be-reckoned-with lead guitar and an excellent, though not for the ages, fiddle. He is thus a relatively rare phenomenon in the country-music world, where, more often than not, singers don’t write well, writers don’t sing well, and singer-writers don’t play well. The average country singer is a stylist, whose strength is in interpreting the work of a stable of salaried songwriters, and whose guitar (strummed rather than picked) is little more than a prop, a place to put one’s hands while singing." Haggard was recognized for his lifetime contribution to the performing arts at the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors. Here some of his most memorable songs are performed by a bevy of stars who clearly adore him -- Jim Davis

 
 
 
 
 
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