Keith Urban’s Merle Haggard-Inspired Song Gets The ACM Awards Treatment

Ethan Miller / Staff / Getty Images

Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and Reba McEntire aren’t the only traditional or classic country singers being honored at this year’s ACM Awards. 

The awards show is introducing an “ACM Flashbacks” part of the show where Jackson, Keith, and McEntire will each team up with a modern artist to perform one of their biggest hits from 1993.

Keith Urban must have gotten the memo, because he is paying tribute to the late, legendary Merle Haggard during his performance. In his newest single called “Coming Home” off his highly-anticipated album Graffiti U, he samples Haggard’s guitar riff from “Mama Tried,” giving The Hag a posthumous writing credit.

Urban went about it the right way though, and got Haggard’s family’s permission to use the famous guitar riff. 

“‘Coming Home’ started with an idea I had of using the intro of one of my favorite Haggard songs, ‘Mama Tried,’ to build an entirely new song around it. Then, I took the idea to J.R. Rotem and he put some chords around it,” he said in a press release. “I called Theresa Haggard and Ben Haggard to play them what we’d been working on. It was important to me to have their blessing — and I’m so grateful that they love the song.”

Not only did he get Haggard’s guitar riff, he also got pop music’s woman of the moment to join him on the song. Julia Michaels, who was present at the ACM Awards to perform “Coming Home” with Urban, is currently one of the hottest singer-songwriters in the pop genre.

Everyone was enjoying the performance, but no one more than Nicole Kidman! 

Watch Michaels and Urban perform “Coming Home” at the ACM Awards below. 

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