Alan Jackson Shares Hilarious Backstage Story About Merle Haggard: ‘He Was Crazy’
Alan Jackson has great memories of one of his own musical heroes, Merle Haggard — but as he reveals in a new interview, the country legend was not too fond of one of Jackson's favorite down-home recipes, his mama's lemon pie.
The two country traditionalists met early on in Jackson's career, he explains to Nashville's Tennessean newspaper.
"He opened or me, believe it or not, which was very strange," Jackson shares during an interview to promote his new album, Where Have You Gone. "It felt weird going on after Merle. It was such a treat having him out there. He's just so classy."
Asked to share his favorite memory of Haggard, Jackson recalls that he used to have one of his mother's pies as part of his backstage catering, what he calls a "lemon icebox kinda pie." It was part of his effort to make life on the road homier with some favorite country dishes.
"It was one of my favorites but not everybody likes it, you know," he recalls. "I just remember one time we came into catering and Merle's sittin' in there and the guys said, 'Merle, how's the food today?'"
"[He said], 'Oh, it's pretty good, but don't eat that god---n yella pie!'" Jackson relates with a laugh.
"I never did tell him that was my mama's pie," the country superstar admits. "He was just that way. He was crazy. He was funny."
Jackson released his 16th studio album, Where Have You Gone, on Friday (May 14), and among the tracks is a cover of "That’s The Way Love Goes" that he dedicates to Haggard, who had a hit with his own recording of the Lefty Frizzell classic in 1983.
“I’ve been wanting to do something for Merle ever since he died,” Jackson tells the Tennessean. “I think it'd been cut by a bunch of people but I always heard [Merle] did ["... Love Goes"] as a tribute to Lefty. … I did it kinda the same way, as a tribute to Merle.”
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