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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Curtis McPeake and Andy May - Instrument Demonstration - Country Music Hall of Fame Rotunda - 2015

Country Music Hall of Fame: Curtis McPeake and Andy May

Banjo & Guitar Demonstration Curtis and Andy will perform and discuss the music, their instruments and their careers with country music fans in the Rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Legendary 5-string banjo player and Trailblazer Award winner Curtis McPeake has performed or recorded with Bill Monroe, Danny Davis, Lester Flatt, George Jones, Wilma Lee &…

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Room for Roots - Cover

Jamsphere: “Room for Roots” by Andy May

From the colorful images of “Life’s a Gig” to the feelings of desperation and triumph in “The Woman in the Wings” you can feel the salt of life in his songs…. Really, few active songwriters can grab a listener with small-town stories and sharply cut images like Andy May. Grab a listen to “Stone Soup from Hard Times (Featuring Maura O’Connell)” or “The Harvest” and “My Small Town”. The characters in his songs are everybody’s friends, neighbors and relatives. The production and engineering are exceptional as is the musicianship of everyone involved. Andy deftly employs just the right combination of words against the backing of solid Americana-folk to paint pictures of tricky relationships, the power of nostalgia, the experience of growing set in one’s ways, and lessons learned the hard way. Rick Jamm, JamSphere, The Indie Music Magazine & Radio Network , on Room for Roots by Andy May

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