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Merle Haggard Getting ACM Award & a Tribute Album

By Kurt Wolff

During his 50-plus-year career, legendary country singer and songwriter Merle Haggard has already received many accolades, including membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame as well as the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. This spring, the life and career of the 76-year-old artist is being recognized again -- twice.

During the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony on April 6, Haggard will receive the Crystal Milestone Award to commemorate his 50 very active years in country music. Haggard will receive the award during the televised portion of the ceremony.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award include Jason AldeanGarth BrooksKenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift.

Five days earlier, on April 1, a new album paying tribute to Haggard will hit stores. Titled Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard, the 20-track album (see the full track list on features an impressive range of contemporary artists covering some of Hag's most classic songs.

Toby Keith performs "Carolyn"; Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley take on "Pancho & Lefty" (a song written by Townes Van Zandt but turned into a No. 1 by Haggard and Willie Nelson); Jason Aldean turns out the ballad "Going Where the Lonely Go"; Randy Houser offers up "Misery and Gin" and "Ramblin' Fever"; Jake Owen performs "Make Up and Faded Blue Jeans"; and Merle's song Ben Haggard sings "Mama Tried" and "Sing Me Back Home."

In addition, Joe Nichols sings "Footlights," a song that also appears on his 2013 album Crickets (the song is also among Haggard's own favorites from his own catalog).

And on a special edition of the album available only at Walmart, Garth Brooks delivers "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down."

Related: Merle Haggard's Okie From Muskogee album to be reissued in anniversary edition

This isn't Haggard's first go-round on the ACM Awards stage by any means. Decades ago he became the ACM’s first-ever Entertainer of the Year when the award was presented in 1970. 

Read more and see the full Working Man's Poet track list on


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