Merle Haggard came to town last night, so I went and took my nephew with me. I don't own any Haggard albums, but my dad did and he was all over the radio when I was a kid.
It was a good show. I knew him as a singer/songwriter and didn't realize that he's quite a good guitarist. He doesn't play anything very flashy, but he has a nice sense of melody and was getting a great tone from his Telecaster, which was sitting very high in the mix. Counting Merle, it was a ten-piece band. There were two guys playing electric guitar (both telecasters), a drummer, a bassist (playing one of those Ned Steinberger electric upright basses), a keyboardist (playing an acoustic piano patch, exclusively), a pedal steel player, a guy who played mostly sax but also played trumpet on one tune, a guy who alternated between acoustic guitar and fiddle, a very good harmonica player and Merle himself, who played telecaster on most things but fiddle on many tracks (and he's pretty good on that, too).
They did all of Merle's hits plus some nice covers: Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", two Bob Wills' songs ("Take Me Back to Tulsa") and some others that will come back to me as I think it over (one was a big-band jazz number).
The opening act was The Defilers, who where are pretty weak alt-country three-piece who appeared desperately wish they were either Social Distortion or Mike Ness' solo project. But I did know one of their songs: the very good "Talk of the Town," which I had caught on a local radio station recently, and some of their others played well with the audience (including one called "Red Necks, White Sox, and Blue Ribbon Beer"), who were generally tolerant of them. :)