Grand Ole Opry YouTube
After Merle Haggard passed away, the country music community was in a state of mourning. One artist who was hit especially hard by Haggard’s passing was Toby Keith, who shared a close friendship with him.
Exactly two months before Haggard’s death, Keith attended one of his shows in Las Vegas when “The Hag” asked him for help. After fighting double pneumonia for months, Haggard was growing tired and wondered if Keith knew any of his songs so he could help him finish his show.
Keith not only knew a few of Haggard’s songs, but all of them, and he told Haggard he didn’t even need a teleprompter to get through them. By stepping up on stage, Keith managed to save what ended up being one of Haggard’s final shows.
In a new video with The Grand Ole Opry, Keith sat down and spoke about his great admiration for Haggard:
“He had the look, he had the voice, he had the name, he was a songwriter and a great guitar player. He was just the consummate singer-songwriter.”
The Opry asked Keith if he could perform six or eight of Haggard’s songs during an appearance there in a tribute to him. Although Keith was glad to do so, he struggled to pick only six or eight songs to sing. But he ended up choosing some good ones, including “Mama Tried” and “Silver Wings.”
You can see snippets of Keith’s medley of Haggard’s songs in the clip below. During his interview, Keith also reflects on his own career and biggest hits.
It’s clear that Haggard had a great influence on Keith, as he did on many other country artists. He’s so dearly missed.
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