photo credit: people.com via Joshua Timmermans for Blackbird Presents
As rock and rollers grieved the losses of our most loved legends, the country music world suffered a tremendous loss of its own last year when outlaw country legend Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday. Exactly one year to the day later, friends, fans, and loved ones alike poured into Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena not to mourn the loss of a man with a wealth of melody wrapped homegrown wisdom left to share with the world, but to celebrate his life and legacy in a way that he’d have loved: through song.
Known as “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” the tribute show was a star studded affair that drew musicians near and far to the stage to remember Merle with dazzling renditions of some of his most loved work; among those in attendance were ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes who teamed up for a bluesy, whiskey soaked take on The Hag’s iconic “Workin’ Man Blues” from his 1969 album A Portrait of Merle Haggard that got the crowd on its feet, hooting and hollering something fierce.
Fun Fact: “Workin’ Man Blues” is Haggard’s tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man.
The house was rockin’ right up to the rafters as Billy and Warren traded licks in between Warren’s syrupy vocal delivery, no doubt shaking the heavens themselves when “Workin’ Man Blues” morphed into a swampy fusion of Southern rock and Delta blues that made it virtually impossible to even consider sitting still. In fact, if you’re sitting still by the end of this video, take your pulse – it’s impossible to not have a good time when Billy Gibbons and Warren Haynes are in the house celebrating Merle!