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Merle Haggard Gets Candid About Lessons Learned In Prison

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Merle haggard Songs | Merle Haggard Gets Candid About Lessons Learned In Prison | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: Ryman Auditorum/ryman.com
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Born into a poor family in 1937, Merle Haggard's father died when he was just nine years old. After that, he was in and out of juvenile facilities and had various run-ins with the law. 

During some difficult times in his early 20s, Haggard was overcome with financial woes plaguing both he and his wife. Trying to resolve them, he attempted to rob a roadhouse in Bakersfield, California and was arrested. In February 1958, he was transferred to San Quentin Prison after attempting to escape from the local jail. 

It was there, in San Quentin, that Merle Haggard learned some really deep lessons about life and he's kept a keen eye on the prison system in America since it played such an important role in his life. 

During an interview with Men's Journal, Haggard talks about growing up poor and how his desire to better himself led him down the wrong path. 

"I grew up in a family that didn't have anything.", he said. "I wanted to better myself, but I took off in the wrong direction. When I woke up in San Quentin, I was about 21, and I realized how far I'd gone in the wrong direction."

With a nearly two-year stint in San Quentin Prison, he confessed that he learned one of the strongest values of his life in that time. 

"[I learned] honesty. In that environment, if you tell someone you're gonna do something on a Tuesday, you better do it, because you can't get away from them."

Now that the superstar has been out of the confines of the law for some time, he has kept his eyes on headlines and news articles about what America's legal system is like now. 

"I believe that if you break the law and get caught, you should go to jail. But we're in a hard time in America now, with all the trouble with police in the cities. Prison is the biggest business in America. Bigger than marijuana! You got the money, you can build a prison out in Nevada and it'll be filled before you finish building it. That's a fact, and that's a shame."

Profound words from a living country legend. Haggard has lived a very long and storied life this far and isn't putting his guitar and microphone down anytime soon. He continues to tour with his old pal Willie Nelson and play shows across the nation. In 2014, he was honored with the Crystal Milestone Award from the Academy of Country Music for his half-century career and influence on country music. 

Check out one of this country singer's superhits, "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive" in the video below!

LYRICS BELOW

Down every road there's always one more city
I'm on the run, the highway is my home
I raised a lot of cane back in my younger days
While Mama used to pray my crops would fail
I'm a hunted fugitive with just two ways,
Outrun the law or spend my life in jail

I'd like to settle down but they won't let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there's always one more city
I'm on the run, the highway is my home

I'm lonely but I can't afford the luxury
Of having one I love to come along
She'd only slow me down and they'd catch up with me
For he who travels fastest goes alone

I'd like to settle down but they won't let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there's always one more city
I'm on the run, the highway is my home

I'm on the run, the highway is my home

 

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