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Working in Tennessee

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Merle Haggard: Lively And Spontaneous

Merle Haggard: Lively And Spontaneous

Working in Tennessee

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Not coincidentally, Merle Haggard's "Working in Tennessee" documents a young ruffian who pulled himself up by his bootstraps.

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Not coincidentally, Merle Haggard's "Working in Tennessee" documents a young ruffian who pulled himself up by his bootstraps.

Courtesy of the artist

Wednesday's Pick

Song: "Working in Tennessee"

Artist: Merle Haggard

CD: Working in Tennessee

Genre: Country

In plain terms, Merle Haggard's "Working in Tennessee" is just a fun Western swing song, and it sets the tone for a lighthearted album. The track showcases a man who — at 74, having had half a lung removed — still writes strong lyrics and fronts a stellar band, The Strangers.

Not coincidentally, the song documents a young ruffian who pulled himself up by his bootstraps — he was born in a converted boxcar — and made it big as a country star, despite his rocky relationship to Nashville. The musicianship is something to be remarked upon by itself, particularly the smooth, light touch of fiddle player Scott Joss. At one point the Hag says, "Ah, work on it Scotty," and it's the sort of little moment that gives the album a lively, spontaneous feel. You can tell by the way everybody plays that the Hag runs a tight ship, but he's having a great time.

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Album
Working In Tennessee
Artist
Merle Haggard
Released
2011

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