Merle Haggard Wronged by Kennedy Center Presentation

December 28, 2010 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  82 Comments

Please indulge me for a minute here because I need to blow off some steam. Yes I’m glad that The Kennedy Center honored Merle Haggard and I guess you should be grateful for what you are given and not look a gift horse in the mouth. But in my opinion, the Kennedy Center’s presentation to Merle was horrifically mild and uninspired.

I had to sit through presentations for theater nerds and dance freaks I’d never heard of to get to Merle’s, but after watching their presentations, I thought these dudes had hung the moon. The presentations were perfectly orchestrated, convincing, inspiring, touching to the human spirit and uplifting, even to someone with no idea who these people were. And almost every presentation built up to ‘that’ moment where a great human’s work was done justice by an outcry of gratitude. These are the Kennedy Center Honors; and the tributes have to be perfect, and they were!

And then we get to Merle.

The only thing perfect about his presentation was Miranda Lambert’s cleavage. His presentation felt abridged, unimaginative, and flat. Who in the hell was in charge of this, Vince Gill? And why now all of a sudden is Vince the default MC whenever country music needs a spokesman, because his optometrist has the perfect glasses frame for every occasion? Willie was the one bright spot. He looked healthy and was magnetic, but then here comes Kid Rock and his big bag of nothing, looking like a wet cigarette and throwing a dirty, greasy feeling over the whole thing. I swear I saw Sidney Poitier whisper to Angela Lansbury, “Oh shit, look what the cat dragged in.” Steven Tyler refused to use the microphone after Kid until it had been through an Autoclave, and then doubled up the scarves on the mic stand after dousing them in Lysol.

And did Jamey Johnson get high on Honeysuckle Rose before his performance, or is he working on adding the most elongated awkward pauses into his lyrical phrasing as humanly possible? Everybody but Willie looked completely lost and unrehearsed.  And why of all people did John Lithgow have an iso camera shot on him all night? Sure, 3rd Rock From The Sun is good for a few laughs, but he got more face time than Barack Obama. Seriously, if you TiVo’ed this and made a drinking game around every time they show him, you’d be arrested for running around your neighborhood naked and humping a fire hydrant.

I know I’m probably coming across as an ungrateful little bitch, but this is Merle Haggard dammit! Bring your A game! And it’s The Kennedy Center Honors; an excellent outreach opportunity for country music, and we looked like a bunch of monkeys trying to screw a football out there. Merle Haggard is an American treasure and deserves better.

Screw it, I’m writing my own presentation speech to Merle.

Two guns up for Merle Haggard and his Kennedy Center Honors! Two guns down for the presentation!

(PS: Autoclave–n. A strong, pressurized, steam-heated vessel, as for laboratory experiments, sterilization, or cooking. Sorry, when I get mad, I get wordy.)

82 Comments to “Merle Haggard Wronged by Kennedy Center Presentation”

  • I was so happy that Merle showed so much disgust when Kid Rock and that other sweltering pile of nothing, Jamey Johnson came out there. At one point, you could see his date/wife? lean over and say, “be nice”.

    I would have been real disgusted if I was Merle. And he looked to be. Miranda Lambert and Kristofferson paired together was like putting ketchup on a lobster, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley, who cares. Willie was great, but that end job, and even Jamey Johnson botching Ramblin’ Fever. What a big, slimey, wet, fart of a presentation.

    Oprah singing along to Silver Wings was pretty awesome, though.

    • I have no problem with Miranda Lambert, but how about working out the duet parts before you get on stage. Did you see that girl sing for Oprah? She was spectacular. It was the performance of a lifetime. Pretty much everyone except for Willie looked like they were half assing it at a Karaoke bar. If you’re going to sing at the Kennedy Center Honors, kick its ass!

      And I don’t know what that was from Jamey Johnson. I’ve been trying to convince myself he hung on that word so long trying to be dramatic, but I’m afraid you’re right and he just spit the bit. What the hell was going on there? Botched performances, no preparation, mailed-in performances.

      If you enjoyed the presentation, I don’t want my sour words to convince you differently, but man, I am pissed right now. That could have been so much better, and compared to the other presentations, it was pathetic. We looked like a bunch of bumpkins they let in the back door, like “here’s the hayseeds to celebrate their redneck royalty. We’ll clap for them even though they clearly have no talent.”

      • Well, at least Joe Klein of Time Magazine did Merle proud with the official Kennedy Center tribute. Check out the link below:

        • That’s more like it. Some of that might have been used in the presentation, but not all of it.

          I know that Merle’s presentation was at least partially edited, because in the news article I linked to in my last article he talked about the orchestra playing “Okie From Muskogee.” As bad as the performances were, a hack job in the editing room might have added to some of the awkwardness.

      • I’m making no exscuses, but t’s my opinion that Jamey Johnson screwed up because he was in shock from the bad performance Kid Rock had just given.

        • Now that was funny, Ga Outlaw! lol :o)

          If you watch the Kid Rock, Willie, Jamey performance…someone messed up – after Willie did his verse, the camera panned to Jamey who leaned up to the mic and was about to start the next part…only Kid Rock did the same thing and kept on singing. I don’t know if Jamey was the one that messed up or Kid…but someone did and I think it threw the rest of their performance off.

          • I agree and saw that mess up the 2nd time I watched. Jamey was clearly going at the mic and Kid went off on the verse. Not knowing at all if that was the case, but that might be the explaination for why Jamey did the verse the way he did it… annoyed.

            Jamey should have done a song alone.

  • I’ve always loved Steven Tyler….Now I love him more!!
    I didn’t watch, so thanks once again for stepping up… should be featured on “Dirty Jobs” in my opinion.

    • I’m neither here nor there on Steven Tyler, but he put on an excellent performance for Paul McCartney. Aerosmith has covered a few Beatles songs through the years so he knows the material and how to perform it. All the other performers appreciated the gravity of performing for one of the best at their craft. Except for the performers for Merle. So half-assed.

  • Kid Puke makes me puke and Jamey Johnson is a sissy ass self proclaimed “outlaw”, who doesn’t know the meaning of the word as it’s used in “outlaw country music”…

    Yay!!! for willie, and i’m proud for merle, he deserves this…

    • When exactly has Jamey said he was a music outlaw?

  • awwwwwwh… I want to watch this.

  • It’s just not fair. I’m all for pomp and circumstance. Show me Kennedy royalty all done up in black and diamonds present the modern knights of the art world. It was that, until we got to Merle. I agree that presentation was not up to snuff. And for The Kennedy Center Honors, there is no second tier. Merle got robbed and I hope he knows all the people he’s truly touched and entertained.

  • So all the bitching about who the presenters were for Merle…. does anyone have a alternative? Who should it have been?

    • appropriate presenters in my opinion:
      Willie Nelson
      Kris Kristofferson
      Marty Stuart
      George Jones
      Emmylou Harris
      Loretta Lynn
      Charlie Pride
      Dwight Yoakam
      Lyle Lovett
      and I could go on…without ever crossing the line…

      would love to see Dale Watson involved, but, he’s just not known well enough.

      • I thought Kris and Miranda were allright. Willie brought Merle to tears. I was a but upset that the Strangers were not used as the backing band and Binion Haggard (Merls proud and joy) was nowhere to be found. I am sure he wouldve prefered seeing his son on that stage over anyone else.

        To be fair though, the Mccartney tribute as not much better. Other than Tyler, it was quite boring and the song choice was very predictable to say the least, and this is coming from a Beatle hater!

        • I agree the McCartney stuff felt a little contrived at times, but at the end, with the huge choir joining into “Hey Jude” and the whole place rising to their feet. That was a moment that gives you chills, and Merle never got that moment. There was no buildup, only letdown from bad performances laid down by a generic band.

          • Yeah, that part was cool. But Merle did seem very touched by most of the performance and that’s all that matters. Where was George Jones though? I guess too busy singing with Staind?

      • Willie, Kris and Marty would have been great. Dwight would have been a nice mix too.
        I thought Willie and Kris looked in great spirits and health!

        I have to think that there is a long list of performers they look at, and you might not always get your first choices for various reasons.

        Also, this is a pretty high brow affair, so for them to let Kid Rock in, given his public perception, there has to be something more to it (like someone likes him around).. not saying that excuses him with a bad performance, but this isn’t exactly a booze-fest event.

    • I kind of don’t care who they ran out there, as long as whoever it was took it seriously. Somebody who could have taken a Merle song and taken it to the next level like was done with all the other honorees. Instead we get a bunch of big names going through the motions. I would have had my list, but I understand why they try to have new and fresh artists, and artists from different genres to try and keep it interesting for people and I don’t have a problem with that. But if you’re gonna have those people out there, they better blow my socks off.

  • Well, you folks have aired most of my grievances, but I’ll add one more. Sheryl Crow. Like the comment made about Vince Gill being the default MC, why is it that Sheryl Crow is the default tribute performer particularly in situations where the audience isn’t going to be all country fans. Plus, she screwed up the lyrics to “That’s the Way Love Goes” at a MERLE HAGGARD TRIBUTE! Ridiculous.

    Thanks for the write-up.

    • Yeah, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones seem to be at every one of these things. AND Kid Rock, like it’s their niche or something. Sheryl AND Jamey Johnson had flubbs. It’s like they were all higher than Georgia Pines. I’d blame Willie, but he was the one bright spot.

      • watch it again, I think Jamey was planning to sing the verse Kid sang… he steps to the mic and then Kid goes off, and he is like “whatever man”… so I think he had to pull off the next verse, which he did… I wouldn’t call it a flub like Crow missing words.

  • I don’t think Merle’s tribute was any better or worse than the others. Shockingly to us, but there might have been alot of folks there and watching that could say the same- “I had to sit through presentations for theater nerds and dance freaks I’d never heard of…” about Merle. “We had to sit through some performance for a ragged old guy that hasn’t shaved and looks like a hobo, to hear McCartney.”

    A side note… not sure anyone here cares, but a good friend of mine is the lead attorney for in TENN. Sen. Corker. So he gets to rub shoulders with many entertainers regarding various censorshop laws, taxes, etc…
    Anyway- there was a tribute to Willie and Kristofferson back in Sept. in DC. He attended and Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson were all there for that. That wasn’t something televised nor really publicized. These guys are very big fans and friends with some of these legends and truely want to pay a tribute to them when they can.

    Merle also smiled what appeared a pretty genuine simle through the tribute. (at one point you could see his date/wife lean over and say, “be nice”.) seriously, your a lip reader, yet you don’t know if that was his wife or not???

    Also, try to put yourself maybe in the shoes of the performers…aka Kid, Jamey…(not Willie and Kris, they have been there done that. Not the women, they are more respectable than us men) but Kid and Jamey aren’t exactly 5star looking/living guys. They party, they drink, etc… I like to do the same. If I was told that I will be performing for one of my heroes, I might knock a few back… probably would hit the pipe with Willie… and I might stumble a bit on stage because I over did it. (hmmm… sounds a lot like my heroes)

    So… I think the performances were good. They sang a couple lines and that was it. Give an entire Merle song to Jamey to do alone, and he would have nailed it. But nailing a Merle song doesn’t mean getting the place on its feet. It means making the place want another drink and feel more pain. You really think Kennedy Center wanted that?

    I also think is it funny how some rip Jamey for his performance when he basically sings/stands/pauses… a lot like Merle and Willie and Kris do.

    • Yeah, if I had tuned in to watch the other performers, I would have thought let let the help on stage or something for Merle’s presentation, or that this was some ploy to keep rednecks in the country from getting too restless. I do think the other presentations were much better. I was really impressed with the performances, and the speeches. Chris Rock cracking jokes about Oprah, Steven Tyler singing Beatles songs, it was good stuff.

      And I have left open the idea that Jamey was just trying to be creative in his phrasing, but man, that was one hell of a pause. It’s at least not unfair to ask if he got tripped up.

      • I just watched this performance again, and I might have to back track a bit.
        My initial watching of it last night was with my fiance and parents opening late Christmas gifts, so my attention was not fully on the TV, so I watched it again after reading the posts here and some other articles.

        Seeing it again, Kid didn’t/doesn’t fit at all and really f-ed up the whole thing. And watching it closer, when Kid breaks into his verse, Jamey was stepping to the mic and then backed off. Not sure whos fault or if something was missed, but clearly there was some mix up, and perhaps Jamey wasn’t ready for the verse he sang, thus the pauses, but I didn’t mind the pauses so much. (I watching Jamey perform with Kid at the CMA’s last year and a few years ago with Shooter Jennings, Jamey definitely slows his pace with those guys and has a look of “what the fuck are you singing you jack ass?”)

        I am getting annoyed with this matching up Jamey with Kid so much and the tour they are going on. I assume they are buddies to be hanging so much and have a good time, but… Now, Jamey is becoming tangled with Kid and somewhat of a side show.

        But, we should focus on the fact Merle earned it, Willie and Kris looked good appearing we have some more years to enjoy them being active in the music, Jamey should have groomed a bit (this was important and he kind of blew it), Paisley might make some shitty pop-country, but I think he is very aware of the roots of country and can pull that out when he wants, and it could have been worse… we could have had Sugarland up there.

        • Is there somewhere online that we can watch this? A link? I can’t find the whole thing on YouTube.

          Whatever Jamey was before, and y’all can go back and forth on that, it is a reduction for him to be featured with Kid Rock. I said that when I first heard about them touring together, and I believe it more now. I don’t know who is at fault for the Kennedy stuff, but clearly the whole presentation was off kilter. Way too many mistakes by people who are professionals and are trained to not make them.

          If Sugarland was slated to play, I would have boycotted.

          • I had it on TiVo, but haven’t been able to find Merle’s presentation anywhere online. If anyone finds it, please post it.

            I was skeptical about the Kid/Jamey paring, and I agree with you 100% right now. Kid is a reduction and in the way.

          • Found it on you tube. After rewatching it seams like maybe Jamey was suposed to do the first part & Kid Rock the second because that pause by Jamey may have been the was Kid Rock rehersed it as sort of a rap. Maybe Kid Rock thought the rap was to terible so he stole Jamey’s part to try & make him self look better.


    • Why don’t you check Jamey Johnson’s prostate for him while you’re down there sucking his ass?

      Your fucking boyfriend blew the song, because he sucks. Merle looked disappointed when Kid Rock and Jamey Johnson came out. I’m sorry. I’m sure reality is a hard thing for you to grasp, and I’m sure you’ll reply with some idiocy fill with gushing about Jamey Johnson, and how his shortcomings in every fucking realm are all someone else’s fault.

      • I didn’t see this, and I’m glad I didn’t. The fact that Merle looked disappointed sided with the fact that the performances were subpar (save Willie) makes me glad I didn’t. The Kennedy Honors are supposed to be a salute to the contributions of it’s honorees, and what transpired sounds like a weak wristed pinky to the forehead. I agree with the Triggerman; this was an opportunity for country music, REAL country music and they treated it like Uncle Clarence’s retirement party.

        • For my part, I found it really hard to read if Merle was disappointed or touched, or any other emotion. He’s an old country dude, and they’re taught not to wear their emotions on their sleeve. Towards the end he was shaking a little bit, which I took as him fighting back tears, but I really have no idea. He also saw more than we did. They edited out at least some of his presentation, an orchestra playing “Okie from Muskogee” that we never saw.

          • Perhaps one of the better arrangements? Sometimes editors don’t know what they are doing! LOL I didn’t watch but I get the gist of it . . . It could have been so much better.

      • What are you talking about? God, because you don’t like Jamey, and I do, I must be sucking his dick? Or can’t see reality? Who do you support and like? I guess your sucking them.

        It is plain to see that there was a mix up with the second verse. Jamey and the cameraman were expecting Jamey to sing, and then Kid started in. That is reality.

        What shortcomings are you talking about? Besides him not grooming for the occasion, I didn’t see much wrong with his performance. The pauses in the 4 lines he sang weren’t a problem.

        If you watch Jamey sing with others, such as Kid or Shooter Jennings (both are miles away from Jamey in talent and vocals, he appears annoyed.) I wouldn’t call that a shortcoming on his part as much as the others can’t keep up with him.

        • First of all, this is a blog about the Kennedy Center Presentation for Merle. You insist on reverting back to whatshisname, and thus you bring on the criticism full steam ahead. Just admit he did a shitty job and move on. Maybe one day your beloved can get his due. Until then, accept the fact that the performance sucked.

          • Yes, this is a blog about the presentation for Merle at the Kennedy Center. And we are all chiming in on it. Last I checked, there were several performers that gave the presenation… thus, it might be relevant to comment on those people. And the blog mentions Jamey specifically that he was high. So because you never have any support for you claims about Jamey, your pissed at me. again.

            I think Kid fucked it all up. I think others did a fair job. Maybe I am not the musical expert some are, but I didn’t see anything from Jamey (being he sang 4 lines) that would validate he did a shitty job. He looked a bit shitty for where he was, but what about his performance was shitty? Don’t blame him for Kid being a jack ass.

          • I <3 Denise!

            Waylon4ever, so your best defenses for Jamey Johnson fucking up 4 lines on National Television are that he either was too drunk, or couldn't think on his feet because Kid Rock screwed up?

            You must not think too much of your boyfriend's status as a professional. You see, when people make their living making music, and are good at it, they know enough to not get wasted before any show, but especially, a real big one. Or if this big Kid Rock conspiracy of yours is the case, if Jamey was actually a fan of Merle Haggard, wouldn't he be familiar enough with a staple like 'Ramblin' Fever', that he could hit any verse, at any time?

            As far as the other idiocy you're spewing about people attacking you and the love of your life goes, this was about Merle Haggard, and the Kennedy Center Presentation, people mentioned Jamey Johnson's shortcomings at it, and you've been up and down this piece trying to do some sort of creepy damage control against anyone who claims anything aside from the fact that Jamey is gentle, and and absolute joy, when he slips you the cock.

            And this other line you're going on about your dreamboat putting anyone he sings with to shame, and showing disgust for their inability to have his bedroom eyes, or whatever the fuck it was you were gushing about, most people that are even passable as roots musicians are capable of something as simple as harmonizing with others, I'm sorry you're boyfriend can't do that.

            Now, if you were a smart man, which you're not, you would take this opportunity to go lay down beneath the Jamey Johnson poster on your ceiling, and pray the scotch tape gives way, but I'm sure you'll drag your knuckles across the keyboard a little more, insisting on how you're right, the world is wrong, and if you just keep on hoping, one of these days, Jamey will let you pitch.

      • I don’t suck nobody’s ass. Am I a Kid Rock & Jamey Johnson fan? Yes I am. Is that gonna change because they both screwed up a tribute to a Legend? No. Is that gonna change because the majoity of people I talk to online hate them both? No, because that would be sucking yall’s ass & as I said I don’t do that. The facts are they both screwed up. My opinion is it was Kid Rocks falt.

  • Wow! I was sorry I missed your last post in time to catch the honors…til now! To borrow some lines from Merle: He’s seen it in it’s pride and all it’s glory, When you’ve seen the very best, the rest aint hard to play, He’s seen what we’ve got have a whole lot better days, the sad part is… he’s seen it go away. I hope Merle enjoyed the honor atleast, if not the edited and arranged for “prime time” presentation! Like Cathy said, Thanks for being the Mike Rowe with Saving Country Music and spareing alot of us the pain and dissapointment. GREAT POST!

    • I would have been less disgusted cleaning a public toilet last night.

      • Yeah, I’m sure their line up was completely a “who’s popular” list in the shallow depths of the Hollywood Entertainment Sesspool. It’s just too bad/sad that the most of the people selected didn’t have their hearts or supposed talents in the moment! You would have hoped that for an honorable presentation they might have given Merle a list to choose from! THAT would be an “HONOR”!

        • That’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard all day!

  • It should have been another common man , George, but he may have been on tour.

  • PS Triggerman- I know what autoclaving is!

    Great blog :)

  • Waylon4ever

    I’m neither pissed at you nor lack support for my claims. Thanks anyway.

  • Hey Owen ! Can’t reply up there ^ but thank you! And it dawned on me a few minutes ago: The Grand Ole Opry kicked off one of their greatest performers (Hank Williams) for being under the influence, but it’s OK for whatshisname to flub up in front of distingushed guests and millions of viewers.

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm.

  • Owen– not a bad piece of writing, but lets take a look at it.

    1. so your best defenses for Jamey Johnson fucking up 4 lines on National Television are that he either was too drunk, or couldn’t think on his feet because Kid Rock screwed up?
    I never said that Jamey screwed up. The discussion was about his ackward pauses, which I don’t really think were an issue.

    2. You must not think too much of your boyfriend’s status as a professional. You see, when people make their living making music, and are good at it, they know enough to not get wasted before any show, but especially, a real big one.
    Really, your going to go with the idea that country/rock guys that are legends haven’t had a boozed up performance that people talk about? The likes of Hank, Hank Jr., HankIII, Willie, Waylon, DAC, etc… never were gassed up?

    3. Or if this big Kid Rock conspiracy of yours is the case, if Jamey was actually a fan of Merle Haggard, wouldn’t he be familiar enough with a staple like ‘Ramblin’ Fever’, that he could hit any verse, at any time?
    He did hit the verse. Just that some people had an issue with how he paused. Which isn’t much different than how Merle, Willie or Kris pause in a tune.

    4. As far as the other idiocy you’re spewing about people attacking you and the love of your life goes, this was about Merle Haggard, and the Kennedy Center Presentation, people mentioned Jamey Johnson’s shortcomings at it, and you’ve been up and down this piece trying to do some sort of creepy damage control against anyone who claims anything aside from the fact that Jamey is gentle, and and absolute joy, when he slips you the cock.
    They did mention his shortcomings? All I heard mentioned was his pauses were strange. My opinion they were strange, and if anything, they were how he does a tune.

    5. And this other line you’re going on about your dreamboat putting anyone he sings with to shame,
    no, I said his vocals are well beyond Kid and Shooter. That is a fact.

    6. and showing disgust for their inability to have his bedroom eyes, or whatever the fuck it was you were gushing about, most people that are even passable as roots musicians are capable of something as simple as harmonizing with others, I’m sorry you’re boyfriend can’t do that.
    Show me anyone that can harmonize with Kid when he is screaming or Shooter?

    7. Now, if you were a smart man, which you’re not,
    standard for you to bring up a statement like this when you have no support for you above comments…

    8. you would take this opportunity to go lay down beneath the Jamey Johnson poster on your ceiling, and pray the scotch tape gives way.
    I forgot to say thank you when you rang me up for my Jamey poster purchase the other day. You have the day off today?

    9. but I’m sure you’ll drag your knuckles across the keyboard a little more, insisting on how you’re right, the world is wrong, and if you just keep on hoping, one of these days, Jamey will let you pitch.
    When have I made any referense to an opinion or thought being right or wrong? People give opinons and thoughts, thats fine. When someone makes a claim that is objective (do you know what that means?) I ask for support or do point out they might be inaccurate.

    Nice of you to stick up for Denise though. I am sure I will get a reply from you along the lines of “fuck off.” haha.

    • Actually, you’re going to defend Jamey Johnson, and profess your love for him until you’re blue in the face. You’ll take any explanation that anyone offers up for any of his short comings, give some half-cocked defense for it, then do your whole, “you’re making fun of me because you have no facts to back your statements”, thing that you do.

      Jamey Johnson gave a flawed performance last night. You’re the only person on here who begs to differ. FACT.

      You constantly jump on anyone on here who says anything negative about your glorious man crush. FACT.

      You give the same, weak as fuck, defense every time anyone calls you on your Jamey Johnson loving idiocy. FACT.

      Jamey Johnson is nothing more than the frat boy who wrote, ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk’. FACT.

      Now, may a million AIDS infected transients ravage you in every Jamey Johnson free orifice.

      • Who exactly do you like? It is easy to sit on the sideline and rip others and really take no stance, but who do you support?

        Also, I never said that the performances weren’t flawed, I said that I didn’t think the pauses that others pointed out were a an issue. Fact is Jamey didn’t screw up the 4 lines he had. I did say he should have groomed better.

        When people like you make claims with no support, then yea, that should be called out. Children call each other names.

        You gave your frat boy arguement in another blog. We saw how far that got you. And the bodonkadonk card is old and worthless to use.

        Again, I would be interested to know exactly whos poster you have on your wall?

    • I will not get involved in this at all–but, there’s one thing here I do have to correct…I have friends in both Kid Rock’s and Shooter’s bands—and they harmonize with them every night. It can be and is done.

      Defending one person by saying someone else isn’t as good as them is a really weak arguement. And I’m not insulting or ranking any of the artists mentioned above. Just correcting a statement made in the heat of an obviously angry discussion.

      Let it die.

  • Aside from being the glorified debate team captain in high school, are you also the whatshisname fan club president? Owen’s comments are just as valid as your’s are . . . I’m going to change your name to whathisname4ever, K?

  • You’d have to be from another planet to think that Kid Rock’s presence would be appropriate to honor anything other than fake boobs and Jim Beam.

  • Do ya’ll know that when Dolly Parton was being honored at Kennedy a couple of years ago, they asked Jess(icka) Simpson to sing 9 to 5 and she botched it so bad at the taping that they didn’t air it. I wish they would edit and honor everyone that way. I felt that many of the performances last night were not top notch. I guess I am just happy that Merle was honored and he did seem touched by some of the performers. He is a trooper from way back and knows a bad performance when he hears it and also knows how to take the good with the bad. Seems the bar keeps getting lower and lower in music….sad……

    • Okay dokay, I just did some googling and it looks as though Jessica did sing for Dolly? ? I didn’t see the show in 2008, but had been told about the bad performance in rehearsals and that she did not perform. Oh well, it just helps prove the point about the need for respectable performances that really honor and not embarrass.

      • Good digging Kay, that’s interesting. Jessica got a pretty hard treatment from me when she “went country.” Dolly was her go-to legacy act, just like George Jones and Charlie Daniels are to the Aaron Lewis character. Same exact formula. Didn’t work for Jessica, let’s hope it doesn’t work for Aaron.

        If they had edited the bad performances last night, they would have had no performances to show. It was pretty bad across the board, and what was good was overlapped by the bad.

        • Okay Trig,
          I just went back and listened to the video, she did not finish, she abruptly ended and walked off the stage saying she was nervous. Of course, Dolly smiled and applauded anyway.

          (I didn’t listen to the whole thing before because I have a problem watching train wrecks).

  • I have read with interest all the above posts concerning the Kennedy Center Awards and would like to share my humble opinions.
    Since watching the “show” I have been in a sort of state of shock. This is why………. About 42 years ago , as a 12 year old , I first heard a neighbor of mine sing ” Today I Started Loving You Again” and fell in love with the music of Merle Haggard. I have followed his music and learned to play guitar and sing mainly due to his influence. The influence of a Lonesome Fugitive, a Farmers Daughter, an Okie from Muskogee, a Fightin’ Side of Me, etc., etc., all the way thru his last albums.
    In my opinion, he is what a Country Music artist is. He’s lived it, he’s payed his dues not only to Country Music, but to himself. He’s never backed away from anything he screwed-up on…including the botched robery attempt that landed him behind bars or his love of drink or women or his wander lust thru the years. He’s always seemed to face life head-on, but not forget his struggles. It seems to only have made him stronger.
    I have played his music and listened to others play it all my adult life. I do not know of any Country Music venue that does not regularly cover his music. I personally was honored to be able to sing his songs at the Nashville Palace and at Tootsie’s in the past years, although it seems Nashville has forgotten Merle’s accomplishments and contributions to …”REAL Country Music”. The clubs still want to include his music in every show…., and every REAL Country performer knows his songs….., but Nashville just likes to use them to make their cash registers jingle.
    And now to add insult to injury, they send their NEW COUNTRY POSTER-CHILDREN to pay tribute to the living legend. The tribute to Merle was not only a grave insult to Merle, but a huge insult to REAL COUNTRY MUSIC and it’s fans everywhere.
    Kid &%^$* is a very talented musician in his own right…..whatever that is. I have seen footage of his guitar playing, piano playing, etc…….and he does well. But he is not Country by any means and I think he sucks as a presenter, also. He is Kid Rock and I think that says it all. Now I guess he’s also Kid Rap, Kid Country, Kid AMA, Kid CMA, and anything else the Kid promoters should decide he needs to be. ……..ATTENTION PROMOTERS: You are wrong to insult our intelligence with the Kid blitz.
    And while we’re discussing the award ceremony………What does Sheryl Crow and Country Music have in common? Well…she does provide eye candy for all us fellows and dresses real nice…….But, she ain’t Country , either. She’s Folk/Rock….
    Vince could have made a better attempt at his introductory speech, but he made up for it when he and Brad teamed up on Workin’ Man. They did great and Brad’s sallute to Merle last night summed up his feelings in the matter. A very appropriate gesture.
    Willie was as cool as ever and as superb as always and I think Merle was moved by his performance. My hat’s off to Willie because in the spirit of the festivities….he didn’t even take Ole Trigger for a ride, and that’s completely out of normal.
    I don’t know what happened with Jamey Johnson’s performance, but I do think ….at least he could have shone a bit of respect to the institution and what it stands for and tucked in his shirt tail or dresssed a bit more appropriate.
    I didn’t expect Kid Rock to clean-up. If he had, he would have not seemed so outrageous, which I think is his main intention these days. What a waste……


    • Good thoughts.

      After watching it a few more times. I do not think Jamey Johnson flubbed. I think he made his part all about him and was way too cheeky. This isn’t about you, this is about Merle.

      • where did you find it to watch??

        • lol, link right below this.

          Hey man, if you ever want to do some writing to let the devil out every once in a while, you let me know. The pay is nothing but the hours are long!

          • i’ll be takin you up on that real soon man.

  • Video of the presentation:


    this is what was most important to Merle….truth

    • Might be my new favorite Merle quote: (about the President) “Anybody with any sense who takes that job and thinks they can handle it must be an idiot”

      Great story. I think cable news in general including FOX, CNN and Jon Stewart (and all subsidiaries) is all the same poop machine, just different colors; all pandering to a set of bias as per voter affiliation. I think the bar’s been lowered so much on both sides, it’s just mudslinging to sling mud. Only problem is, we’re all caught in the middle.

    • Love Merle, but he needs to stick to music.
      I have heard that Pres. Obama can be very charming in person. Certain snakes can be also.

  • There’s been a lot of country singers over the decades, some good, many not-so-good. But there’s only a hand-full of artists you can look at and say “country music today would not sound the same without him/her”. Merle Haggard is certainly one of those singers, and he deserves to be honored as such. I didn’t see the ceremony, but it sounds like that was not the case. That’s a crime.

  • not sure if anyone will give a shit about my findings on this… but from a friend that knew about the show.

    “first hand account they only practiced once, and willie wasnt even there for practice. that might be the reason it flubbed in your eyes.”

    • I am not in anyway saying Willie not being there for the rehearsal was the issue. I think him walking in and giving the performance he did, shows how great he is.

    • I have no doubt that nobody rehearsed before the presentation aside from maybe a few impromptu sessions in people’s dressing rooms right before they went onstage. Everybody is to blame, and honestly I don’t see the point of trying to blame one person over another, except for there has to have been someone putting the whole thing together, and that person is the one who should have ultimate culpability. There were to many chiefs and not enough indians. I’m sure one of the excuses will be trying to coordinate everyone’s busy touring schedules, but I don’t care. I think they thought that the weight of the performer’s names was enough to carry the performances, but it wasn’t.

      Do you think the long and intricate dance routine they performed for the dance guy was done with a quick 15 min rehearsal? No, those people worked for weeks on that. Do you think Jennifer Hudson didn’t practice her performance for Oprah at all? Hell no, I was bet she was nerve racked for moths leading up to it. How about the choir that sang “Hey Jude?” So why is the country performance the ONLY one that went off half cocked?

      What a fucking embarrassment. And honestly I’m tired of all the back and forth about what performer to blame. They’re all at fault. If I have seen how wheels-off the thing was going to be and I was one of the performers, I would have backed out.

      Watch this:

      Are you telling me we could’ve had Dolly or Emmylou come out and destroy a Merle song like that with an orchestra behind them?

      Sorry. Every time I start thinking about this again I start wrenching around and re-opening up wounds. And honestly who step on who at one specific point in any of the performances seems really petty to me. It was all bad, and inexcusable.

  • I am not trying to defend… but

    ballet dancers live to get the moment right.

    when was the last time you saw gwen or no dobut ever perform… they had time

    hey jude and maCartney are like singing jingle bells for most.

    the group that performed for Merle, well where was George, where was Loretta, maybe our heores are just not the heroes we thinks sometimes.

  • […] also sung the praises of his Kennedy Center Honors presentation, despite some not being impressed. Well, it’s the ultimate . . . it’s great, and probably couldn’t be topped. And I […]

  • Wow. What a bunch of sour pusses. If you think for one second Merle was disappointed, then you don’t know anything about Merle or about the human spirit. There was absolutely nothing wrong with these performances. If you were looking for spit-polished performances of country music, then sorry. Vince and Brad are as close as you’re going to get. Real country music is rough, people, and sometimes things aren’t always perfect.

    As for the dance troupe, Jennifer Hudson (freaking amazing), and the other performances — there’s no comparing them to a set of Merle Haggard songs. If anything, I was more disappointed in the McCartney tribute.

    Oh, and it was Sam Waterston they kept showing over and over, not John Lithgow. I only remember seeing him. once.

    • I’m not looking for perfect, I am looking for inspired, or at the least, rehearsed. Maybe I am being a sour puss, and I admitted as much up above, but there were things wrong with the performances, lines sung wrong, parts missed.

      And maybe they showed Sam Waterston a bunch too, but I was on a message board during the performance and right after I mentioned that they keep showing John Lithgow, they showed him yet again, so I know they showed him at least three times, probably more.

  • Did anyone happen to see couple shows on CBS last night? (I only bring this up since Kid Rock was a topic in this article.)
    People’s choice awards or David Letterman?
    Kid Rock performed on Peoples Choice and Justin Townes Earle on Letterman. One end of the country spectrum to the next in a matter of hours.

    I am a Kid Rock fan, not sure about this new album (it is rock, opinion is leaning to not good rock, but more rock and roll than anything else today. But I thought he was going country more? confused here.) I have been to a few shows and seen many TV performances by Kid Rock. Last nights was by far and away the worst I have ever seen from him. The song “God Bless Saturday Night” was terrible and he sounded awful.

    I don’t know much about Justin Townes Earle, but I did like the song he performed. “Harlem River”. I don’t know if a song about Harlem can be considered country, it was more a rockabilly sound, but it was good.

    Just thought I would share since Kid Rock and Justin Townes Earle get some buzz on here, and you got to see them both back to back on network television last night, and it was very different music. I give the edge to Justin.

    • Did not see the People’s Choice stuff, but did see Justin Townes Earle. I was a little disappointed that I did not see him with his regular band setup, with just fiddle and bass, which really allows him to shine, but I understand this is a network TV debut, and they have to play it safe. At least his bass player Bryn Davis got some face time. Wish they could have squeezed Josh in the shot somewhere. It was good for him and great exposure. Seeing him live many times, I know it could have been better.

      • I did catch the performance on letterman, liked it. Though i kept getting drawn to the woman playing stand up bass…..

      • I did think though that he was in finer form than when we saw him at SXSW though. His voice sounded amazing. Paul Shaffer on keys was ….. erm. Interesting. He looked very excited to be performing with somebody so young and hip. He kind of stole the show, and not in a good way.

  • it shows how ignorant you are when you thought you had to define autoclave. this is the internet. teach the people how to copy and paste and they’ll be able to figure out definitions on their own. you know, the whole, “teach a man how to fish” thing …

    • Wow, I’ll probably regret getting in the middle of this but it’s not Triggerman’s responsibility to teach Computer 101 here. Lol, autoclave isn’t something usually mentioned when discussing music of any sort. I have to admit I like it when people get passionate about something they believe in. That is why I hang out here because of my passion for music advocacy…real music. Did you feel he was ignorant because he was assuming some of us were ignorant about the meaning of the word? Anyone who does a blog or website or writes knows you have to cya quickly because there are always those who jump at the first opportunity to criticize or point out misspellings or whatever! Have a good one.

    • I was just trying to add a bit of humor into an otherwise and admittedly bitchy article. Sheesh.

  • […] that Martina McBride and Miranda Lambert’s performances were bad. They were just fine, but just like at the Kennedy Center Honors presentation for Merle Haggard, whenever country music has an opportunity to showcase itself to the rest of the world, it is such […]

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