Merle didn't choose his name......if he had his preference, it would have been 'James'.....although musically speaking, Merle Haggard was not too shabby, so he decided to keep it!
Merle grew up in Spokane Washington......in the valley area called 'Orchard Avenue upon Park Road'.....sounds ideal, doesn't it?.......sort of like Stratford upon Avon.... but lacking not only the Royal Shakespeare theaters... but also any sense of gentry........really, the place consisted of very middle-class hard-working folks!.....so it really was on Park Road not 'upon'......
....after listening to his sister's piano lessons at age 7, he'd take to the piano and play for her what she was supposed to learn. Merle began writing music when he was 15 years old.....first on piano, then guitar......and guitar is where he wrote most all his music. He listened to many different artists of the times... mostly folk and pop, rock & roll......and was obviously influenced by many but never attempted to imitate anyone....thus his style was really his own.....even though, apparently Pablo Picasso said, 'Art is Theft'..regarding the creative process..... Merle never took lessons on guitar and was self taught. Playing around the Pacific Northwest and Canada he realized making a living would be feast or famine.........hit & miss. So he went back to school got a couple of degrees & began teaching for a living while writing and playing guitar as an hobby.
Merle ended up working overseas in the middle east for 24 years.......a long way from Spokane, Washington...upon retirement he located to Bend, Oregon in 2007, he started writing/playing guitar on a daily. Inspired by alternate guitar tunings, he began composing again, this time instrumentals....which resulted in his first acoustic CD titled, 'Under My Sun' in 2012...... This was followed by his latest CD titled, 'Detours'....12 original tunes of varied styles, inclusive of one guitar instrumental titled, 'Top of the Morning'. This CD was released in January 2015.
Merle has just released his third album titled: Goin' down Life's Highway; This is a collection of original music, (with the exception of two cover songs), of varied flavor & style; A mélange of Folk, Americana, Blues/Blue Grass, & Country delivered in Merle’s unique manner.
The CD ‘Goin’ Down Life’s Highway’ has been three years in the making…….a testament to trying to do things right while reaching for the stars. I wanted to put my best foot forward and give these songs the production value and quality they deserve.… please take it along your own Life’s Highway….ENJOY!.