For many, Merle Haggard’s name brings fans back to a time when singers were as gruff and gravely as the topics they sang about. The notoriously hard-living musician eschewed the slicked-up Nashville hit-making machine and became a hero as one of the pioneers of the outlaw country sound. Over the past decade, the “Okie from Muskogee” rolled back the years—he’s making music and maintaining a grueling tour schedule (when many of his contemporaries are retired or simply irrelevant). Yet the rough and tumble singer continues to win accolades for playing tight live shows with a strong backing band. As one of the last survivors of the original Bakersfield scene, the 76-year-old keeps chooglin’ along, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Wed., March 5, 8 p.m., 2014