Watch Willie Nelson and the late Merle Haggard roll one out during this Fourth of July picnic performance YouTube

When Independance Day rolls around, one very special guest will be missing from Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic.

And that’s Merle Haggard.

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It was just last year, on July 4, 2015, that the buddies teamed up during the event to swap verses on their duet, “It’s All Going To Pot.” Taking the novelty tune’s first verse was the braided-haired Willie, while Merle rolled out the second.

Released on April 20, “It’s All Going To Pot,” was penned by Buddy Cannon, Larry Shell and Jamey Johnson and landed on Merle and Willie’s sixth and final collaboration album, “Django & Jimmy.”

While our hearts still mourn over the unfortunate passing of Merle, the event — which is in its 43rd year — is expected to turn heads with an incredible lineup of mainstays and megastars. Acts will include Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Brantley Gilbert and Lee Ann Womack just to name a few. Stars will fill two stages at the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack near Austin, Texas — the same place as last year where this infamous duet occurred.

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Originating in 1972, Willie’s Fourth of July Picnic has become a yearly event that lights up the holiday.

“I got the idea from Woodstock about how music could bring people from different places together,” said Willie in a 2015 press release. “I had just moved to Austin and had come to realize what a great music center it was and could be.”

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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