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Carol Perkins: No hesitation on invitation to Haggard Tribute

Writer surprised at new talent, Jamey Johnson and The Avett Brothers and her son asked, 'What rock have you been living under.' And when a thirtyish store clerk asked 'Who was she?' at the mention of Merle Haggard, the phrase came in handy again.
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Demons. They are circling

By Carol Perkins

When my friend said, "You want to go to Bridgestone to the Merle Haggard Tribute?" I didn't hesitate. The list of performers included stars from country and rock, so it was a chance to see those whose concerts normally might have been too "out there" for me. I would never, for instance, think of going to a ZZ Top concert, but my seeing Billy Gibbons in person was a cool as far as my grandson was concerned. Is that beard for real or a stick on?

We arrived downtown thinking we would eat at one of the many famous eateries, but all 18,000 concert goers were hanging outdoors and scrambling for chairs inside as soon as a customer rose. Finally, at a BBQ place, we nabbed four stools at a counter. The house band played Merle songs and passed around a five-gallon bucket for tips. What ever happened to a tip jar? One lady paid him twenty dollars to sing a George Strait song. When she realized the next morning what she had done, she might wish for that twenty dollars back.

When we made our way to the entrance, tiny steps at a time, and we looked for our section number until an usher spotted us and led us to the floor and the tenth row from the stage. We could see all of Keith Richards' teeth! What was Keith Richards doing at a Merle Haggard Concert? It seems he is a huge fan of Haggard, along with dozens of other stars who came that night such as Loretta, Miranda, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Hank Jr., Toby Keith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Willie Nelson!

My surprise came from singers/songwriters that were new to me: Jamey Johnson and The Avett Brothers. When I mentioned them to my son, he wondered what rock I had been under. I was impressed with both. It was a star-studded night, and I was thankful for the tickets.

The next day Judy and I were shopping at a ladies' store, and the clerk said, "Are you in town for business or pleasure?"

"We went to a Merle Haggard tribute last night," I said.

"I don't think I know her," the clerk replied. She was at least thirty. I assumed she was new to Nashville and to country music or from a third world country with no radio or TV.

"It's a male singer who died not long ago." Then I decided not to explain.

"Has she been living under a rock?" my friend said later. (That sounded familiar.)

What we know and what we think others should know don't always correspond. One thing is for sure, everyone I know would know Merle Haggard. After all, there haven't been that many country music artists presented the Kennedy Center Honor!

Contact information:

(My new book, A Girl Named Connie, is available at Blossoms Florist and Boutique Unique, 507 Happy Valley Road, Glasgow, KY 42141, Phone 270-629-3597; the Edmonton/Metcalfe Chamber of Commerce, 109 E Stockton Street, Edmonton, KY, Phone 270-432-3222; and the Lighthouse Restaurant, 1500 Sulphur Well/Knob Lick Road, Sulphur Well Historic District, KY 42129. Phone 270-629-3597. And Also on

This story was posted on 2017-05-03 11:38:27
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