Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville sound recordings of the same era. Merle Haggard One of country's greatest songwriters, Merle walked a line between toughness and heart that few could imitate. His simplicity in the face of polished Nashville product created the famed Bakersville sound. When he moved into the 70s, he aligned himself with the equally far-reaching Outlaw movement. He died in 2016 as one of the most universally adored talents in country's rich history. Recommended Listen: Branded Man (with The Strangers) Crash Course: 1. Branded Man 2. Hag 3. If I Could Only Fly Compilation Replacement: Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard Signature Songs: 1. "Mama Tried" 2. "The Bottle Let Me Down" 3. "Are the Good Times Really Over" 4. "Okie from Muskogee" 5. "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" Personal Note: I'm not intensely familiar with Merle's catalog, but I wanted to select him in tribute since he just passed. I can vouch personally for the three records in that crash course, but they're all I've really heard, so there might be even better ones out there to explore for him. Same goes for the signature songs. Those ones are all well-known hits for Hag, but I might be missing some gems I just haven't heard yet. So let's all explore and maybe I'll update this OP at the end of the week for future listeners.