Miranda Lambert is still dealing with this painful loss Getty Images/Isaac Brekken
Getty Images/Isaac Brekken

It was back in 2010 at the 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors when Miranda Lambert joined forces with fellow country star Kris Kristofferson to pay homage to Merle Haggard.

Together, the artists performed the late legend’s 1969 classic “Silver Wings.”

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Miranda graced the stage in effortless curls and dazzled in a silver-colored dress, while Kris donned a classy, black suit. The stars serenaded their dear friend, as he watched from an upper balcony in the nation’s capital.

Miranda reflects on that unforgettable moment, which she describes as the “highlight of her career.”

“[It was] such a special moment for me,” Miranda tells “The Washington Post,” “ to sit at the table and have dinner with [Merle] and his family and Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. It doesn’t even sound real that I’m saying that. I got to sing with Kris Kristofferson to honor Merle Haggard I would say that was probably the top highlight of my career so far.”

Merle died on April 6, 2016. Miranda admits that she’s had a tough time dealing with the pain of letting go. In fact, she said that she had no idea that the “Mama Tried” singer was even suffering from health issues before his death.

“I was really devastated,” said Miranda about Merle’s passing. “I’m not over it. I don’t think I will be for a long time.”

And, it was Merle’s music that inspired Miranda growing up. In fact, she has a huge catalog of Merle’s hits on practically every device you could ever think of. “I’ve got almost everything [Merle’s] ever done on vinyl and on my iPod and my Spotify list and Pandora,” said Miranda, “I feel that if any artist’s music can live on forever, it’s his. It still sounds like the first time I heard it every time I listen.”


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That’s the kind of emotion that fans can draw from Miranda’s song, “Vice.” As a matter of fact, the song’s lyrics say, “When it hurts this good, you gotta play it twice.”

“There are times when you hear a song enough and you just want to feel it,” said Miranda, “even if it hurts, you’re like, ‘Play it again. I want to cry some more. Play it again.’ There’s a lot of those for me. But I would say I’m always drawn to Merle Haggard songs for sure.”

Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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