I listen more to music when I'm on my computer. I'm into the latest YouTube thing. I'm a nanosecond kind of listener, but if I'm driving I would be listening to a Merle Haggard box set. It's a weird experience listening to 'Working Man Blues' by Merle Haggard and cruising around in a Porsche.
In 1992 I was doing one of my first ever tours and I was in Heathrow airport and I saw these middle-aged musicians who had clearly been on tour for decades, and they all looked haggard and unhappy and unhealthy. I vowed to myself that I would never be that person. Flash forward 20 years and I found myself in Heathrow looking haggard and unhappy and unhealthy. I decided I would rather spend my time staying home working on music and making dinner with friends, instead of spending six months in a hotel in a state of depressing suspended adolescence.
Don't read books! Don't chant poems! When you read books your eyeballs wither away leaving the bare sockets. When you chant poems your heart leaks out slowly with each word. People say reading books is enjoyable. People say chanting poems is fun. But if your lips constantly make a sound like an insect chirping in autumn, you will only turn into a haggard old man. And even if you don't turn into a haggard old man, it's annoying for others to have to hear you. It's so much better to close your eyes, sit in your study, lower the curtains, sweep the floor, burn incense. It's beautiful to listen to the wind, listen to the rain, take a walk when you feel energetic, and when you're tired go to sleep.
The haggard aspect of the little old man was wonderfully suited to the place; he might have groped among old churches and tombs and deserted houses and gathered all the spoils with his own hands. There was nothing in the whole collection but was in keeping with himself nothing that looked older or more worn than he.
She is not old, she is not young, The Woman with the Serpent's Tongue. The haggard cheek, the hungering eye, The poisoned words that wildly fly, The famished face, the fevered hand, Who slights the worthiest in the land, Sneers at the just, contemns the brave, And blackens goodness in its grave...
The truth is that trout fishermen scheme and lie and toss in their sleep. They dream of great dripping trout, shapely and elusive as mermaids, and arise cranky and haggard from their fantasies. They are moody and neglectful and all of them a little daft. Moreover they are inclined to drink too much.
John D. Voelker
May the merciful god, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore.
If you should look for this place after a handful of lifetimes: Perhaps of my planted forest a few May stand yet, dark-leaved Australians or the coast cypress, haggard With storm-drift; but fire and the axe are devils. Look for foundations of sea-worn granite, my fingers had the art To make stone love stone, you will find some remnant.
...you think back to Tele players, and James Burton was the one who started it all. He inspired Roy Nichols (guitar for Merle Haggard & the Strangers), Don Rich (guitar for Buck Owens & the Buckaroos), and guys like that to push the envelope and expand on that sound... I really identify with that kind of thinking ... those guys to me are the reason why any of us do this..
The records in the house I really remember were, well, Glen Campbell's 'Wichita Lineman' and 'Galveston.' Even as a kid, I knew these songs were glorious. My dad also had records by Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings, and then there was also the Eagles and Don Henley. Anything Texas, which includes Don Henley, was big.
Through silent alleys where dark shadows fleeted past them like forest beasts on the prowl; through bustling market-places where bloaters predominated, into crammed gin-palaces where the gas flashed over faces whereon was stamped the indelible impression of a protest against creation; brushing tatters which were in gruesome harmony with the haggard or bloated features. ("The Phantom Model
I just got into it like a lot of people through the rock 'n' roll bands in the late '60s that turned to country music, like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, but particularly through The Byrds because of Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman (with their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo). They kind of introduced English kids to Merle Haggard and George Jones and the Louvins (brothers Charlie and Ira).
This fellow is wise enough to play the fool; And to do that well craves a kind of wit: He must observe their mood on whom he jests, The quality of persons, and the time, And, like the haggard, check at every feather That comes before his eye. This is a practise As full of labour as a wise man's art For folly that he wisely shows is fit; But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.
I continued toward Atlanta with a Merle Haggard C.D. playing on the stereo. They weren't great hosts, but those guys in The Ted Kaczynski Fan Club had great taste in music. It was all classic country music- none of that sissy, boy-band country that they played on the radio all the time. I drove down the road while Merle preferred to just stay where he was and drink.
But there's a thin line between songwriting and arranging. ... Recording at home enables one to eliminate the demo stage, and the presentation stage in the studio, too. ... And I think it's safe to say that the single very impressive figure to me was Merle Haggard. ... Dylan can do no wrong. ... Glenn Gould was my hero. Glenn Gould was my idol. I loved him. ... I loved Hendrix. I mean, really, really loved him. As if he were one of the great classical composers. And he was. That's how I saw him.
Some of these guys will go on walking long after the laws of biochemistry and handicapping have gone by the boards. There was a guy last year that crawled for two miles at four miles an hour after both of his feet cramped up at the same time, you remember reading about that? Look at Olson, he's worn out but he keeps going. That goddam Barkovitch is running on high-octane hate and he just keeps going and he's as fresh as a daisy. I don't think I can do that. I'm not tired -not really tired- yet. But I will be." The scar stood out on the side of his haggard face as he looked ahead into the darkness "And I think... when I get tired enough... I think I'll just sit down
Reverend Ted Haggard's followers still think he's not gay. I'm not kidding. In their world, there are no gay people. There are just straight people who are sinning. They don't want to do it, but the Devil makes them! He targets people like Reverend Ted. That's how it happened. The Devil got hold of Reverend Ted, and Ted said, 'Get thee behind me, Satan! And put it in, gently'.
I return one last time to the places of death all around us, the places of slaughter to which, in a huge communal effort, we close our hearts. Each day a fresh holocaust, yet, as far as I can see, our moral being is untouched. We do not feel tainted. We can do anything, it seems, and come away clean. We point to the Germans and Poles and Ukrainians who did and did not know of the atrocities around them. We like to think they were inwardly marked by the after-effects of that special form of ignorance. We like to think that in their nightmares the ones whose suffering they had refused to enter came back to haunt them. We like to think they woke up haggard in the mornings and died of gnawing cancers. But probably it was not so. The evidence points in the opposite direction: that we can do anything and get away with it; that there is no punishment.
Ree Dolly stood at the break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. Carcasses hung pale of flesh with fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavor, sweeten that meat to the bone.
Now comes the picture of mass defeat, the most awesome spectacle of the war. It is in the bent bodies of old women who poke among ruins seeking some miserable object that will link their lives with the old days. It is in the shamed darting eyes of the defeated. It is in the faces of the little boys who regard our triumphant columns with fear and fascination. And above all it is in the thousands of beaten, dusty soldiers who stream along the roads towards the stockades. Their feet clump wearily, mechanically, hopelessly on the still endless road of war. They move as haggard, gray masses, in which the individual had neither life nor meaning. It is impossible to see in these men the quality that made them stand up and fight like demons out of hell a few shorts months ago.
He shook his head again. 'I'm afraid I don't feel much of anything these days. Especially not hope. I have no time or energy to waste on false wishes and dreams that won't come true.' 'Hope isn't about ignorant wishing.' She surprised even herself with her defensive backlash. 'Hope is about believing-believing there are better things in store for us if we just wait for them. It's about understanding we're not left completely on our own here, regardless of the way things appear.' Lamont snorted. 'That ain't much for a body to go on.' 'Perhaps not, but I reckon it's enough. Sometimes it's gotta be, anyhow. Without hope, what would drive one onward?' He was silent for a long moment before he looked up and met her eyes. His own eyes displayed no emotion when he answered in a weary, grim tone, 'Fear.' He took a drink and fell silent again as she quietly scrutinized him, attempting to discern in his haggard face the thoughts behind what he had said.
I wrought me a lyric of fire and fear, And called on the world to heed - Till strong men blenched at my haggard face And shuddered, but would not read. So I stole me the gold of the mines of Joy And fashioned a conscious lie - And they gave me the wreath of the kings of Song And prayed that I might not die! (For the lie that I wrought was as old as the world And dear as the vision of Heaven - Of the crimson lure of a maiden's lips And the myth of a sin forgiven!) But my heart was sick, and my soul grew less, With the light of my failing days, Because I had lied to my Knowledge-God For the pottage of human praise. O I clung to the rim of the cliffs of Hell And called on an empty Name - Till there dropped the tears of a weeping Truth And saved my soul from the flame. So I hid my soul in a maiden's hair, And climbed to a clearer view - And I found I had lied to a lying God, And the myth I had sung - was true!