“He was my brother. My friend. I will miss him.” That was the short but sweet statement from Willie Nelson, via his publicist, regarding the news that Merle Haggard died on Wednesday, his 79th birthday,
Longtime friends, Nelson and Haggard had spent quite a bit of time together in the past couple of years. Nelson and Haggard had been booked for shows this month at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas, but Haggard’s name recently was removed from the bill amid reports he was too ill to perform.
Last year’s appearance at Willie’s Picnic came shortly after the release of “Django and Jimmie,” a Haggard/Nelson collaborative album that topped the country charts upon its release in June 2015.
While recording the album in the fall of 2014 at Austin’s Arlyn Studios, the two also taped an as-yet unaired pilot episode of the prospective new TV show “Inside Arlyn.”