Merle Haggard, one of the most influential country artists of all time, has some choice words about today’s country music.
“I can’t tell what they’re doing,” Haggard told In Forum in a recent interview. “They’re talking about screwing on a pickup tailgate and things of that nature. I don’t find no substance. I don’t find anything you can whistle and nobody even attempts to write a melody. It’s more of that kids stuff.”
Haggard added that he doesn’t think the current mainstream trends will be around for long. “It’s hot right now, but I’ll tell you what, it’s cooling off.”
Whether or not the current trends are cooling off or taking off remains to be seen. What is clear, is that a core of emerging artists are bringing the spirit of traditional country music to the masses. Among them, Sturgill Simpson — the one artist Haggard says he does like.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the only one out there,” said Haggard. “The rest of them sound like a bunch of (crap) to me. He comes out and does a great show.”
Haggard has been so impressed with Simpson’s abilities that he’s billed him as the opener for his upcoming show in Moorehead, Minn. on Sept. 6.
This isn’t the first time the Hag has praised Simpson in public. In August, Haggard told Billboard that the rising artist is “the only one that I can tell you I’m excited about.”