It’s customary when a major country music artist passes away that the country music community in Nashville comes together in tribute to the star, with performers from today and yesterday taking the stage to honor the fallen great. This is what happened for George Jones, “Little” Jimmy Dickens, and many more of the major country stars in the weeks after they passed.
But this never happened for Merle Haggard, who passed away on April 6th, 2016. Perhaps you can blame the fact that Merle was not a Nashville resident, and found his final resting place at his ranch just outside of Redding in Northern California instead of the customary Nashville cemetery. Or perhaps it was because Merle was so critical of the country music industry in his final years.
Either way, a tribute is finally planned for The Hag, and it promises to be a star-studded event. Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, April 6th to honor what would have been Merle Haggard’s 80th birthday, and to mark the one year anniversary of his passing. Not just a memorial concert, the entire event is being produced to be disseminated via multi-platform media in the future.
Performers at the event include Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams, Ben Haggard, John Anderson, Kenny Chesney, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, and MORE TO BE NAMED LATER.
Don Was, Buddy Cannon (hence, why Chesney is involved), and Merle’s son Ben Haggard will be the the musical directors for the event and lead a star-studded house band behind the performers. The entire event is being produced by Keith Wortman, Mark Rothbaum and Merle’s widow, Theresa Haggard. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation.
“I am so very thankful for this tribute to my husband, Merle Haggard. Please come join me and my family at this fantastic show that Merle would be so proud of,” says Theresa Haggard.
Invariably more names will be added to the lineup, so don’t pout too hard if you don’t see the name of someone you think should be included not on the list yet. Additional details will also be disclosed as the concert nears. Tickets will be put on sale Friday, March 3, 2017 at 11 A.M. Central online via Ticketmaster, and immediately afterwards in massive wads for four-times face value on StubHub.