Merle Haggard On Kennedy Center Honors / Willie’s Arrest

Tonight the Poet of the Common Man, Merle Haggard will be honored with a Kennedy Center Honors award for his contributions to American music. Well, actually he received the award on December 5th, but the ceremony itself from Washington DC will air tonight on CBS (as they say, check local listings for times).

He will be honored by musical performances from Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, wait Kid Rock? (which one of these things is not like the others?) and his long-time friend and fellow Kennedy Center Honoree, Willie Nelson.

In a recent interview with bakersfield.com, Merle came to the defense of Willie and his recent arrest for marijuana possession.

…there are some people in this world that have no idea what the real deal is. … I think it’s silly to put someone in jail for (marijuana possession). I think it’s a threat to the pharmaceutical industry that you can go to the garden to grow something that might keep you from having to use Lipitor. I would hope they would get off his back. Someone said he might have to do some time. The ones that are against (marijuana use) feel like he’s really breaking the law. People that love him, love him and the ones that don’t like him, hate him. Same goes for me.

Merle also talked about the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, in which the performers and songs are kept a tight secret from the honorees and crowd until they actually happen.

All the people in country music that matter were there: Willie (Nelson), Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert. . . It’s funny; the ones (songs) they picked were the ones I thought were the best, too. History might not show that. The orchestra played “Okie from Muskogee” but no one sang it.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE NIGHT