Ben & Noel Haggard
For fans of their late, legendary father, country music great Merle Haggard, this will be a treat for G Fest 2017!
Haggard’s youngest son Ben was lead guitarist in Merle’s band, the Strangers, for the past eight years, 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’s Working Man’s Poet: Tribute to Merle Haggard album which also featured Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
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.
Since Merle’s death on April 6, 2016 – which was also his 79th birthday (a fact he had eerily predicted) – the brothers haven’t missed a beat, passing on the legacy of their father’s music with the Strangers.
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.”