The Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard compilation from Broken Bow Records will hit stores on April 1st. Fans will hear Merle's songs performed by artists Broken Bow Records like Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen and Randy Houser.
Though it has been said that the project is nothing more than "a showcase of label talent with a 'tribute' as the backdrop," the reality here is that for fans of country music, names like Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley aren't exactly new names that need to be introduced to the world using any type of excuse. Garth Brooks, who will be on the Walmart version of the album, hardly needs any introduction to the music world.
The set also includes two songs recorded by Merle's youngest son, Ben Haggard, who plays guitar in his father's band, The Strangers.
Like any tribute album, the artists will put their own spin on the classic songs. Luke Bryan, who will sing a duet with Dierks Bentley to cover "Pancho and Lefty," a song that Haggard and Willie Nelson took to the top of the country charts in 1983, talked about the flavor they'll give the tune, saying, "The original had a Spanish-Mexican flair. We took a real different approach with it." He and producer Jeff Stevens apparently picture a more Mumford & Sons sound, or, has Bryan describes it, "something with some edge that moves along pretty good."
Working Man's Poet will be available digitally through iTunes. Physical copies of the album, sold only at Walmart, will include Brooks' version of Haggard's 1966 hit "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down," which also appeared on his recent box set that was carried only at the retail giant.
The Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard Track List:
- Misery and Gin - Randy Houser
- Footlights - Joe Nichols
- Going Where the Lonely Go - Jason Aldean
- Today I Started Loving You Again - Kristy Lee Cook
- Carolyn - Toby Keith
- Pancho and Lefty - Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley
- Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down - Garth Brooks (Walmart edition only)
- You Take Me for Granted - Thompson Square
- Mama Tried - Ben Haggard
- That's the Way Love Goes - Dustin Lynch
- Make Up and Faded Blue Jeans - Jake Owen
- I'm a Lonesome Fugitive - James Wesley
- Workin' Man Blues - Parmalee
- Are the Good Times Really Over - Jason Aldean
- Let's Chase Each Other Around the Room - Thompson Square
- I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink - Dustin Lynch
- The Fightin' Side of Me - James Wesley
- My Favorite Memory - Joe Nichols
- Ramblin' Fever - Randy Houser
- Sing Me Back Home - Ben Haggard