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Marty Haggard to visit Park with tales of legendary father
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Marty Haggard is scheduled to perform a tribute to his father Thursday, Aug. 8, at Park Theater. Marty says his storytelling is what makes his show a truly memorable performance.
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Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard was one of the most influential voices in country music, singing his way to 38 hits that reached No. 1 on the charts.

His music – and unique life stories – will take center stage Thursday night, Aug. 8, when his son, Marty Haggard, performs a tribute concert to his dad at Park Theater.

“At some point they’re going to make a movie about my dad’s life because he came from nowhere,” said Marty during an interview with the Standard. “This show is a tribute to my dad so I do all of his material, but I also know all the stories behind his songs. His big fans might know some things, but I was right there with him so I have the whole story. I’m the only one of his kids who he took on the road, and for a couple of those years I was in his band, so I have stories no one else can tell.”

Marty said he toured with his day from age 8 till he turned 21. His tribute at the Park Theater will include all of his father’s big hits, but the stories are what distinguishes his show.

“There wasn’t a jail that could hold my dad,” said Marty. “He broke out of the county jail at 18 and that’s what got him sent to San Quentin. He had a plan to break out of San Quentin too and it was a plan that worked. My dad was talked out of going through with it, but another guy used it to successfully escape. He got in a shootout with a police officer and was executed so it’s best my dad didn’t go with him.”

The execution of Jimmy “Rabbit” Kendrick led to Haggard writing the No. 1 song “Sing Me Back Home” after he saw Rabbit say goodbye to his father before taking his last walk.

“All of my dad’s songs were written about something in his life and I think that’s why they are so powerful,” said Marty. “They are pretty reflective and most people hear their own life in his songs. That’s why he’s been called the poet of the common man. Prison, women, relationships, they are all things he’s written about.”

Haggard turned his life around professionally after being released from San Quentin in 1960, although he was married five times. He received a full pardon from then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1972 and he even made the cover of Time magazine in May of 1974. Merle Haggard died in April 2016.

As for the tribute show, Marty said he used to play exclusively in Branson, Missouri, but now performs all over the Southeast. Marty said he performs about six shows a month within a 500-mile radius of his home in Louisiana. It will be a three-piece band format.

“It’s front-porch country music,” said Marty.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26 and $30. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.martyhaggardtickets.com.