A biography of the legendary country musician Merle Haggard, a man who lifted himself out of poverty, loss and a criminal past to catapult himself into the pantheon of American artists admired around the world.
Marc Eliot...knows country music. With The Hag, I sense that he tried to write in a voice approximating Merle’s own. The resulting text reads like something written 50 or 60 years ago. It’s hokey in places, just like Merle, and pitched to male readers, especially in matters of sex ... it will be interesting to see if the author catches flak for invoking boys-club parlance in 2022. Then again, Merle himself used a lot of the same language in his two memoirs, both enjoyable reads ... But The Hag is a breezy read ... The Hag isn’t for everyone, but stick with it, and you may find yourself tearing up toward the end.
Eliot follows the rough-and-tumble experiences of this maverick with the 'movie-star looks' to his heyday as the bad boy of country music ... Eliot offers a rich and corrective portrait of an often misunderstood figure.
A revealing biogaphy ... Never an insider, Haggard easily took to the outlaw role. However, as Eliot shows, he was also appreciative of both the performers who had come before him and contemporaries like Dylan, Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones along with Cash, Owens, Jones, and his country peers. A well-researched pleasure for die-hard Haggard fans.