No Lag in the Hag

Merle Haggard makes a triumphant return. Wait -- he never went away.

NT: Your father's passing had a huge impact on your life, and really determined its direction in a way, didn't it?

MH: There's a scripture that says, "A good man's steps are ordered by the Lord." I believe in predestination. Looking back on it now, my life's been laid out like it was meant to be exactly the way it is. Those things happened so that I would have the experience and knowledge to see firsthand the things that I ended up writing about and maybe bring to the public a sort of news. In some ways, I'm a news broadcaster, a news man. There's things going on in this world that they're not gonna tell you on CNN. They're not going to say anything that's gonna offend one of the sponsors. So there's talk radio at night, and maybe a few old poets that get played on obscure radio stations -- those are the only ways that you might hear what's really occurring in the world.

NT: It must have been impossible to imagine at the time, though, that all those things -- your father's death, jail, everything -- would shape your life the way it has.

Haggard: "Looking back, my life's been laid out like it was meant to be exactly the way it is."
Piper Ferguson
Haggard: "Looking back, my life's been laid out like it was meant to be exactly the way it is."

MH: I grew up in this business not having any foresight. I'm just a guy who went into a little bar and got a job playing guitar -- I wasn't even hired as a singer -- in order to make a few extra bucks a week. I had no earthly idea that the thing would evolve into what it has.

I always liked the word "evolve." Man, I evolved -- with no idea that the Lord had all this in mind for me.

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