brightcove.createExperiences(); Following news of Merle Haggard’s death, celebrities are paying tribute to the country legend.
“I did an album listening party today and I started with a Merle Haggard song because he was a big part of my youth growing up. Growing up, my dad had several Merle Haggard records and I got to see him play many times,” Urban, 48, told reporters. “We have an event every year, All for the Hall, that I do with Vince Gill [benefiting the Country Music Hall of Fame], and Merle came in one time and participated in that, so I got to play with him and he comes from that line of just unfiltered truth-tellers.”
“He just wrote some of the most iconic country songs of all time,” he continued. “He’s really going to be missed.”
Haggard’s death, which occurred on his 79th birthday, also prompted other stars in the music industry to pay their respects.
“RIP Merle Haggard. I was woken up most mornings when I was a kid to ‘Okie From Muskogee’ being played down the hall n my house #randombuttrue,” Kelly Clarkson tweeted on Wednesday night.
Kesha also took to social media and shared a lengthy tribute to the singer on Instagram, referring to him as “one of the greatest singer-songwriters of our time.”
“Merle haggard was an outlaw and a poet and a storytelling genius,” she continued. “Of the few songs he ever recorded that he didn’t write was one of my mom’s songs, ‘Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You.’ That’s the first time I heard about him, from my mom. He will be missed.”
• Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ