The Bluegrass Sessions

The Bluegrass Sessions

by Merle Haggard


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The Bluegrass Sessions

Teamed with an impeccable band featuring, among other notables, Marty Stuart, Rob Ickes, Charlie Cushman, and Aubrey Haynie, and with Allison Krauss adding a keening high harmony to an emotional rendering of his classic "Mama's Hungry Eyes," the Hag makes all the right moves on his first end-to-end bluegrass outing. The honky-tonk legend sings here with restraint and nuance, probing the lyrics from a vantage point gained with time, alternately bemused, bruised, ironic, unapologetically sentimental, but always knowing. Although he does a righteously intimate, slow grinding take on the Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me" (which is spiced with a dollop of tasty, crying dobro work from Rob Ickes, with JD Wilkes moaning away on harmonica), and sounds naturally right at home on a gently swaying reading of his "Jimmie Rodgers Blues Medley," the material is mostly Haggard originals, new and old. "Holding Things Together," a gem in its original version, is doubly piercing here, as the acoustic instruments and slower tempo heighten the anguish of a father trying to raise children after his wife has flown the coop. By the same token, "Big City," one of the evergreens from Merle's Epic years, gets a lowdown country blues treatment underscoring Hag's tempered outrage over working too long with too little to show for it. Of all these, the most moving is "Momma's Prayers," a reflection on survival, in jail and on the road, as being the blessing of his mother's prayers for him. Alternately stark and full-bodied in its instrumental arrangement, its story is quintessential Hag, tender and tough at once, with a strong moral center. Bluegrass purists may question its bloodlines, but The Bluegrass Sessions packs the punch of enduring art, rendering genre a moot point.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/02/2007
Label: Mccoury Music
UPC: 0829305000825
catalogNumber: 8
Rank: 44946

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Merle Haggard   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Alison Krauss   Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Marty Stuart   Guitar,Mandolin
Rob Ickes   Dobro,Slide Guitar,Guitar (Resonator)
Carl Jackson   Guitar,Background Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Scott Joss   Fiddle
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle
Charlie Cushman   Banjo,Guitar
Ben Isaacs   Upright Bass
Colonel J.D. Wilkes   Harmonica

Technical Credits

Alison Krauss   Contributor
Merle Haggard   Composer
Henry Glover   Composer
Carl Jackson   Vocal Arrangements,Audio Production,Vocal Producer
Freddy Powers   Composer
Wayne Raney   Composer
Ronnie Reno   Producer,Audio Production
John Caldwell   Engineer
Alton Delmore   Composer
Rabon Delmore   Composer
Teeroy Morris   Graphic Design
Lee Groitzsch   Engineer
Dean Holloway   Composer
Randy Garrett   Cover Illustration

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