Merle Haggard touched a lot of people throughout his life. One of them is filmmaker Gandulf Hennig, whose 2010 documentary of the country legend offered a rare glimpse into Haggard’s personal life.
Hennig made Learning To Live With Myself as part of PBS’ award-winning series American Masters. After Haggard’s passing, Hennig made the decision to make the documentary available to stream for free, though it has since been made private.
Th 80-minute documentary is one of the only times Haggard let an outsider into his closely guarded personal life. Haggard routinely expressed a certain distrust towards folks who wanted to make movies or biographies about his past.
Hennig stated that his goal was to get a real look at Haggard and play up his phenomenal songwriting as opposed to his image as an “American badass.” After a rough youth spent in and out of prison, Haggard became a household name throughout the 70s and 80s with is songs, earning the moniker “poet of the common man.” But he was also known as a phenomenal writer who offered some of country music’s most compassionate and vulnerable music.
Learning To Live With Myself features interviews with contemporaries ranging from Kris Kristofferson to Keith Richards and Dwight Yoakam. Check out a segment of the video below.