The Ouachita Little Theatre will be filled this Thursday evening, July 11 with a crowd eager to listen to the sounds and stories of Marty Haggard in his return of “Marty Haggard’s Tribute to My Dad” event.
“I love Mena and I have a lot of friends in the area. I am looking forward to Thursday night’s event. Last year we had a great crowd with good participation. I hope the same will happen this week,” shared Haggard.
Haggard, the eldest son of country music’s iconic Merle Haggard, left Nashville in 1997 to get away from the “music business and the distraction of life.” “I wanted to get re-centered with Jesus. My ministry began when I had spent several nights singing in our church and my pastor started making calls to have me travel and go around to the area Baptist churches. I believe I have visited every Baptist church in the entire state of Arkansas,” shared Haggard. “My dad had some property in northern Arkansas and Grandma Haggard lived in the area,” explained Haggard. “I love the simple life. I did not get into the music business to become a star. Right now it’s a small “mom and pops” operation but it’s enjoyable for me and for the people. It’s not fancy, but it’s real country. Since I was the oldest son of my dad’s, I was able to go on the road more often than my siblings. That is the reason I know more of the stories, the reason behind the songs and more about him. I know more about dad’s personal and professional life than anyone that is alive. When I do his shows, I sit on stage and tell a story with some of the songs, but not songs. This allows dad’s fans to learn more about him. I sometimes sprinkle a little of my songs in there, but I primarily sing my dad’s songs,” explained Haggard.
Haggard continued, “I grew up with my dad singing, but I just have a different perspective than others. Since dad passed away, I have discovered how much dad was a part of a person’s life. Some have even considered him as an extended family member. It’s too bad dad never knew what an impact he was making on people’s lives. Fans still have that connection with my dad and his music. With my relationship with my dad, I don’t necessarily remember the things we did or where. What I do remember is who I was with. Dad enjoyed bass fishing. We could both be in a boat for twelve hours and neither one would say ten words, but I didn’t caring about the fishing. I just cared a lot about my dad and being with him. ”
Haggard explained that he often invites people to share their memories with him.”
“ I look forward to each of our concerts. You never know how each one will be. Sometimes it depends on how outgoing the audience is with their participation. As for our audience, there is no targeted generation. The music will find it’s own target. My theory is I do not care what your age is, everybody likes good music and loves a good song and age is not relevant. Kids today are finding out through the internet that this type of music still exists and they find themselves enjoying it. They just have to go beyond the scope of modern radio. We are finding that our audiences are becoming younger than they used to be. We are starting to see teens in our audiences. It’s predicable that the older groups would come, but we are getting a lot with the younger family members. They have an appreciation of good music. The stuff my dad did, as far as I am concerned, was the best country music in history.”
Haggard explained a unique element of Merle was he wrote his own songs. “The prison songs he wrote came from his past. While others sing about prisons, dad was actually in one when I was born. His songs were 110% of his life’s event. Dad always wore his emotions on his sleeves. I would always know how he was doing by the song he would sing.”
When asked about Thursday night’s performance, Haggard simply responded, “I do not plan the shows. We just see what happens”.
Haggard did mention a few of Merle’s classics would be sung. These classics included Mama Tried, Silver Wings, and Okie from Muskogee.
“I usually know which songs the audience will want to hear. It would be impossible to sing dad’s entire collection. He had 50 number one hits and 110 top 10’s, which is more than anybody in music history.”
Tickets are still available at the Ouachita Little Theatre from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show beings at 7 according to Haggard.
“It’s a two-hour show, but the show goes by fast. I will be available after the show for any direct questions or comments,” stated Haggard.