Merle Haggard show ad

Remembering Merle Haggard

R.I.P. Merle Haggard – American Music Icon

Back in 1978, I had the honor to open a show for Merle Haggard and his band. It was one of the highlights of my professional life, and I got to share it with my good friend and former band mate, Tabby Crabb. Here’s a newspaper ad for that show.

We were huge fans of Merle’s music, and he and his band were in top form that night. And, they made us feel welcome – which made the day even more memorable. That experience was part of the inspiration for my song, Haggard and the Queen, that I wrote years later.

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Andy May - Room for Roots

Haggard and the Queen

©Andy May (Swift River Music/BMI)

Andy: This song is a short chapter in my book of true road stories, dedicated to my late friend and band-mate, Tabby Crabb. Tabby and I opened for Merle Haggard and The Strangers – with Leona Williams and Bonnie Owens – in 1978. About that time, we also played a private event held for Kitty Wells, “The Queen of Country Music” and her husband, Johnnie Wright. I am glad to have been a little part of all of that!  (… more, credits, lyrics)

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Andy May & Kenny Kosek- NY Folklore Center - 1967- Photo by Jack Prelutsky

Early On

New York in the 1960’s was a fabulous place to be for a young guitar nut. There were great players like Dave VanRonk appearing at venues even an under-age guy could go to. Then, there were folks like Doc Watson coming to town! I remember hearing Doc and Reverend Gary Davis jamming backstage at a hall…that was really something! …. Years later I would find myself working with some of my heroes– opening up for folks like Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry or Merle Haggard, or performing with Mike Seeger….
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Country Music Hall of Fame Musician Spotlight: Malone and May

Kenny Malone has played with Eddy Arnold, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, John Prine, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, and Don Williams. Andy May is a guitar and mandolin player as well as a singer, songwriter, and music educator. May is a past winner…

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Country Music Hall of Fame Musician Spotlight: McPeake and May

Banjo player Curtis McPeake has worked with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, Lester Flatt, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, and Bill Monroe. Approaching his ninetieth birthday, McPeake has been in the studio, recording a new project with Andy May. May is a prize-winning guitarist, mandolin player, singer, songwriter, and music educator. He has appeared with Merle Haggard, Sonny Terry…

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