Merle Haggard, Wild Horse Pass Casino, 9/21/12 (VIDEO)

Merle Haggard @ Wild Horse Pass Casino | Friday, September 21, 2012
We pity the grim reaper on the day he comes to collect the soul of Merle Haggard, because the iconic country musician won't be going anywhere without putting up a major fight.

Without a speck of hyperbole, Haggard is a legitimate badass, a bonafide rebel, and the last of country music's true outlaws. He's got a rowdy and criminal past, including raising hell in his youth, doing time for robbery and escaping from prison. Haggard also one of country's living legends, who helped redefine the genre in the 1960s and has influenced the likes of Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, and Shooter Jennings.

So its no surprise that the 75-year-old got a standing ovation from a raucous, sold-out crowd when he took the stage at the Wild Horse Pass Casino's Ovations Live! showroom on Friday night.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.