NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Merle Haggard didn’t just write great country songs, he lived them.

His real life experiences of poverty as the son of Oklahoma migrants, an early stint in prison and a life lived on the road gave his songs true grit when others would just have to imagine those scenarios for inspiration. Haggard wrote songs for the American working class to drink to, to dance to and to cry to.

Haggard died Wednesday at his home in Palo Cedro, California on his 79th birthday, according to his manager.

“We’ve lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time,” said


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