Merle Haggard’s Wife Reflects on Singer’s Legacy, Influence [Exclusive]
Prior to his tribute concert, Merle Haggard's wife Theresa proudly spoke about her late husband's influence and legacy, and the song she most relies on these days. Barely holding back tears, the singer's widow admitted that Haggard only partially understood his influence on others.
The long lineup of stars to take the stage for the Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (April 6) served notice as to how far his catalog reached. Three, perhaps even four generations worth of artists played a song and told a story.
"It's a very emotional moment," Theresa Haggard admits, "To see all the artists coming out and singing his songs that he sweated and toiled over and lived ... it's just very overwhelming."
The couple married in 1993 and had two kids together. Son Ben Haggard led the Strangers as the house band for part of the show. Theresa was satisfied to see her husband's legacy would expand, even if he didn't fully realize how influential he was.
"I don't really knew how much he was loved. He was a lover, he was a giver," she explains. "But I think he knows right now."
Taste of Country asked a number of artists which Merle Haggard song ties into an important moment of their life. Theresa Haggard said there is one she is living now.
"'What am I Gonna Do With the Rest of My Life' ties into right now," she shares, naming others she enjoyed hearing, including "Runaway Mama" which Haggard wrote for her. Over 30 artists took the stage to sing the Hag's songs. The show closed with an all-call performance of "Okie from Muskogee," led by Willie Nelson.
See Photos of Merle Haggard Through the Years