The passing of Merle Haggard hit the country world hard on April 6. Wynonna was especially affected by the news since Haggard was both a friend and a musical inspiration. In fact, Wy might not have started making country music had it not been for “The Hag.”
She tells Rare Country, “My very first concert was Merle Haggard and George Jones. I was 15 years old. Watching them, I knew that night that I wanted to be in country music.”
Later, Wynonna opened up for both Haggard and Jones as one-half of the duo, The Judds.
She adds, “Those experiences taught me the greatest lessons that I continue to draw strength from even today. Their example encouraged me to not just be a good singer, but to strive for excellence — to be a stylist.”
The Judds even namechecked Haggard in their late ’80s hit, “Have Mercy.” Losing Merle has Wynonna feeling more dedicated than ever to preserving the musical legacy he left behind.
“I am reminded once again that we must not ever forget where we have come from in country music,” Wy tells us.
Wynonna truly made Merle Haggard’s “Are The Good Times Really Over” her own when she recorded it on her 2009 album, “Sing.” Enjoy this clip of her absolutely nailing the Merle classic.