Merle Haggard misses the good ole days. The 71-year-old country legend is still making music, with an upcoming double-disc project that he refuses to conform to modern country standards.

"I don't care for it," Haggard answered when asked by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle about the changes in country music today. "It's so perfect, and there are no surprises ... The electronic digital computer -- anyone can do a record nowadays. You don't have to stay in key -- they'll put you in key. You don't really know who can sing or can't until you see them in person. Then you're like, 'Oh my God, what happened?'"

In addition to his frustration with over-produced singers, Haggard also sees a lack of songs these days that will stand the test of time.

"I don't hear anything spectacular like you used to hear," he says. "Where's the 'Ring of Fire'? Where's 'The Gambler' or the 'Okie From Muskogee'? Where's those songs that didn't go wrong for 40 years? I don't hear those."

Haggard says he simply hasn't heard any new artists who impress him as much as his old favorites.

"I'm still a fan of the realists -- the Johnny Cashes or the Hank Williams. I can't find anyone who sings better than those guys ... Those people still top everybody that's doing it now.

"Who's going to be Elvis? Who is going to be better than Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby? Who are the girls you can name that are better than the girls in the past? Carrie Underwear, or Underwood, I mean. I like her, but where's the songs?"

Just three months after undergoing lung surgery, Haggard is already back on the road. He says he's singing even better than he was before his lung cancer scare and insists he hasn't smoked anything since 1992.

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