Music legend and Country outlaw, Merle Haggard, popularized the rough and tough Bakersfield sound during his near fifty year career. With 76 albums and thousands of concerts under his belt, the "Hag" shows no signs of slowing down. Haggard released an album in 2007 and continues to tour the country. The son of dust bowl migrants and a proponent of the working man, his has music struck a chord with the down n' out since he debuted in the late '60s. Don't miss a date on the Merle Haggard concert schedule 2011; Use Eventful as your source for Merle Haggard tour dates and venue information.
Haggard was born in the California farmlands of Oildale near Bakersfield during the height of the Great Depression. The dust bowl forced many from Oklahoma towards the West Coast, with many settling in the familiar terrain. As a young man, Haggard often found himself in trouble with the law and by the late '60s, Haggard had been to jail several times. His experiences are detailed in his truthful lyrics with songs such as "Branded Man" and "The Bottle Let Me Down" chronicling his rocky past. After a three year stint in San Quentin Prison, Haggard joined the edgy Bakersfield sound scene that was the West Coast's answer to Nashville's twangy pop sound. Merle Haggard tour dates were scheduled aggressively in honky-tonks and dive bars during his nascent where he played to the people.
Haggard put out his first single, the aptly titled "Skid Row" in 1962 and performed on the Vegas strip. Haggard hit the big times with his first top ten hit "My Friends Are Gonna Be (Strangers)" in 1968 and scored his first #1 single "Lonesome Fugitive" that same year. Haggard toured and recorded throughout the 1960s collecting #1 hits and selling out shows along the way. His career took a more political turn in the early 1970s when he toured alongside political activist and singer Joan Baez in 1971. Haggard also received a full pardon from California Governor Richard Reagan in 1972 after his single "Carolyn" garnered him another #1 single. Haggard recorded the recession track "If We Make It Through December" which portended the plight of the working class and solidified his status as a proletariat icon. The single resonated with the economically disadvantaged and landed him on the cover of Time Magazine in 1974. Merle Haggard tour dates ditched the honky-tonk for larger venues to play to his growing fan base.
Haggard has continued to tour and record since his last #1 hit "Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star" in 1988. By this time, country music had taken a more pop-infused tone and Haggard had solidified himself as a country legend with 38 #1 country singles and three Grammy Awards. Haggard recently released I Am What I Am in 2010 and is currently on tour to support the album. He performed on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in February, 2011 to kick off his national tour. The country legend will be touring the nation throughout 2011. Don't miss a date on the Merle Haggard concert tour; Use Eventful for Merle Haggard tour date information and venue locations.
Country music legend Willie Nelson has set the bar pretty high for contemporary musicians, having written some of country's most popular songs and even helping to pioneer outlaw country. He is well known for creating Farm Aid, and perhaps even more well known for the tour dates that fund the operation. Nelson's albums have become some of the best selling for any country music artist, releasing 67 studio albums and 27 collaborations with some of country's biggest stars. He's also become popular for his interpretations of other artists' songs, including his most recent album, Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles. While the album has done well, fans won't hear any of those songs on Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown Tour dates in 2011, which is wrapping up in early July.
Willie Nelson began playing the guitar from a young age, participating in bands and singing in the church choir. He moved to Washington in 1956 to begin a professional career in music, but became more successful writing songs for others while he struggled to play small tour dates. He retired to Austin, TX in 1971, but found that the city's liberal music scene inspired him to create his own brand of country music. He became Atlantic Records' first country artist and debuted his more laid back, rock-inspired sound (later becoming a part of outlaw country) on his 1974 album, Phases and Stages. Nelson continued to display this sound on 1975's Red Headed Stranger, on collaborative albums with artists like Jessi Colter, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings, and on tour dates that were becoming a huge draw.
The 1978 album, Stardust, showed that Nelson could achieve the opposite of his earlier career by turning country standards into his own hit songs. In 1985, Willie Nelson joined Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash in forming The Highwaymen. The country supergroup released three hit albums over the next ten years and played sold-out tour dates to overly enthusiastic fans. Willie Nelson spent most of the 90s playing tour dates until the release of the smash-hit Teatro in 1998, which featured back-up vocals by Emmylou Harris. Willie Nelson was joined by even more mainstream artists on the 2002 album, The Great Divide, which featured Rob Thomas, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, and Alison Krauss.
In addition to a warmly welcomed album of Ray Charles covers, Willie Nelson is also working on finishing 2011 tour dates for his Country Throwdown Tour, featuring Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, and Lee Brice. The concert schedule began in late May and will conclude on July 4 in Fort Worth, TX. Afterwards, Nelson will continue to tour solo throughout the summer and fall, ending his 2011 tour schedule on October 26. As Willie is involved in a number of charitable, political, and entrepreneurial endeavors, fans should take this opportunity to catch what might be Willie Nelson's last tour dates for a while.