Country Music

My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers: 18 Readings From The Book Of Hag

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.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray