Merle Haggard Has New Record Deal, Tours With Teen Son
Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard has signed with Vanguard Records. CMT reports that the 72-year-old music legend has written 12 new songs for his first album, 'I Am What I Am,' due to drop April 20. Merle co-produced his first project for the independent label -- which was established in the 1950s -- with Lou Bradley.
Throughout his storied career, Merle has notched 40 No. 1 chart hits, 19 ACM awards and seven CMA awards. He's been nominated for CMA awards 43 times -- more than any other artist. He's also won two Grammys. And he's still touring full steam ahead. These days, he's hitting the road with his 17-year-old son, Benion, simply because he believes his son is a genius on guitar.
"You can't play lead guitar with Merle Haggard unless you're pretty good," Merle says on his official website. "He's doing it. It's not because he's my son, it's because he's good."
Merle adds that with his concerts, audiences never know quite what they're going to get, and neither does he. "We do a completely ad-libbed show. We get on the stage with all the hits we've had, new songs and different styles. We have swing tunes, country tunes, pop tunes and the whole variety of music we bring to the stage. We do it from the cuff, we don't plan it. Sometimes, it comes out really good."