When Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson take the Verizon stage for tonight's "Who's More Grizzled?"
grudge match, they'll bring with them a century of experience as two of the most iconoclastic, poetic voices in popular song, country or any other genre. No disrespect to Kristofferson (four words: "Sunday Morning Comin' Down"
; okay, eight: "Me and Bobby McGee"
), it's Haggard - now all of 72 years young - who's been the real beacon for us lately.
Even the bottle lets us down sometimes, but the Hag never does. Rocks Off has spent the past few days combing one of the true jewels of our collection, Capitol's 1996 box set Down Every Road (100 songs! Buy it!)
, for Merle's pearls of wisdom on all manner of subjects. If this makes us like our dad
, we couldn't be happier. Stay, and teach me to forget.