Merle Haggard isn't afraid of speaking out, and he recently vetted his feelings on modern country music, calling it "crap."

In fact, Haggard, 78, is fond of only one contemporary country musician -- Sturgill Simpson. "As far as I'm concerned, he's the only one out there. The rest of them sound like a bunch of (crap) to me. He comes out and does a great show," Haggard says.

Who is "the rest of them" to Haggard? Everyone else in modern country.

"I can't tell what they're doing," he explains. "They're talking about screwing on a pickup tailgate and things of that nature. I don't find no substance. I don't find anything you can whistle and nobody even attempts to write a melody. It's more of that kids stuff. It's hot right now, but I'll tell you what, it's cooling off."

The iconic singer, who released a collaborative album with buddy Willie Nelson in June, admits there's another artist he really didn't like -- but eventually his feelings changed. That artist was Mr. Johnny Cash.

"I didn't like Johnny Cash. I thought he was kind of corny. I wasn't really a fan," Haggard recalls. "When he came there, he'd been roaring the night before in San Francisco and had blown his voice. He couldn't talk above a whisper, but he was able to absolutely waylay that crowd. Five-thousand prisoners is a good way to check your talent. I was impressed with his ability to handle that crowd without a voice. I'll always remember that."

Though Haggard's feelings on contemporary country sound solidified right now, there's no telling if someone will knock his socks off like Cash did.

Haggard, along with Nelson, is readying for the Django and Jimmie Tour, set to head out Oct. 15. He is also playing a show with Kris Kristofferson on Sunday (Sept. 6) in Minnesota and he selected a very special opener for the concert: Simpson, of course.