The Freedom First: Elmwood Country Night!
An incredible evening of country music featuring Ben & Noel Haggard paying tribute to their legendary father, Merle Haggard!
To benefit NAMI-Roanoke Valley as their 4th Annual Mosaic Concert!
Tickets on Sale Monday, April 1st at 10am online here! Only $15 in advance!
Title Sponsor: First First Credit Union
Presenting Sponsor: EHS – Embrace Healthy Solutions
Sponsored by Budweiser and PA Short Distributing and 94.9 Star Country.
Noel Haggard –
Growing up the son of a man who has defined country music’s possibilities, Noel Haggard has enough life experiences to more than completely inhabit the things he sings about…and does it with the same natural phrasing and richly sonorous baritone that one would expect from someone with such a loaded last name.
Ben Haggard –
“I live the kinda life most men only dream of/I make my livin’ writin’ songs and singin’ them,”Merle Haggard, “Footlights”
For fans of his late, legendary father, country music great Merle Haggard, his youngest son Ben is no Stranger – in fact, he’s been the lead guitarist in Hag’s longtime band of the same name for the past eight years, since he was 15 years old, fitting in easily with veterans like musical director Norm Hamlet and Scott Joss.
Ben was a regular on Merle Haggard’s recordings, took the stage with him and the Highwaymen (Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson) as well as Blake Shelton for a memorable performance at the 2014 Grammys and for the 2012 “All for the Hall” show besides two of his idols, Vince Gill and Keith Urban. Earlier this year, Ben was featured with the Strangers backing Toby Keith for a Merle tribute on the nationally televised American Country Countdown Awards. He also contributed versions of “Mama Tried” and “Sing Me Back Home” to 2014’sWorking Man’s Poet:Tribute to Merle Haggard album which also featured Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
Taking the torch from the Haggard paterfamilias, Haggard recalls a conversation he had with Merle, who sported what his son described as “a look of great depth in his eyes… He was always right about something he said because he had thought about it for so long. He overanalyzed everything to the finest degree in the most artistic way possible.”
Ben recalls Merle telling him, “You’d be an idiot not to take my guitar and my bus, not to sing my songs for as long as you can… Go out there and play until there’s nobody to play to.”
And that is precisely what Ben Haggard has done over these past months and will continue to do in the near-future, effectively putting his own promising musical career on the back burner for the time being – even as he plans to relocate to Nashville to pursue his own artistic identity when he’s ready.
For anyone who’s heard young Haggard play guitar with his father, that talent is undeniable, but he’s only recently discovered a singing voice that, while borrowing genetically from dad’s well- worn gravitas, adds its own fresh take on songs like “Sing Me Back Home” (a performance of which is featured on Ben’s Facebook page), “Heaven Was a Drink Of Wine,” “Workin’ Man Blues” and “What Am I Gonna Do With the Rest of My Life?,” all of them taking on new meanings in the wake of Hag’s passing.