R.I.P. Merle Haggard

Daily Roundups, Swingin' Doors
photo by Myriam Santos

As Country/Western icon Merle Haggard turned 79 years old today, he also sadly passed away this morning at home near Redding, CA. Haggard's manager confirms the Grammy Award-winning artist had been battling double pneumonia, and had spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage earlier this year. The celebrated singer/songwriter burst onto the scene with a cover of Wynn Stewart’s "Sing a Sad Song" in 1964. He's stayed active ever since, and just last year released the album Django & Jimmie, a collaboration with Willie Nelson, that debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Albums chart.

"Merle Haggard was country music’s finest singer-songwriter," says KEXP DJ Don Slack, host of KEXP's Thursday night show Swingin' Doors. "The only competition was Hank Williams, and he didn’t have Merle’s breadth or depth. He was the poet of working people, and his songs eloquently reflected their lives and struggles. I’m proud my show is named after one of his songs."

Tune in to this Thursday, April 7th as Slack pays tribute to this legendary artist, and revisit some of KEXP's favorite songs in this Video Roundup below:

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