On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Ben Haggard along with his brother Noel, will play an acoustic show at Rome City Brewing Company and hosted by Bigfoot Music and Outdoors. The show is an all ages show and starts at 6:30 pm. In preparing for the show, I was able to talk with Ben Haggard about what we can expect at the show, what we can expect from him over the next few years, and how he is finding the balance between honoring his father, the late great Merle Haggard, while finding his own sound.
Ben Haggard learned from the one of the best in country music, Merle Haggard, his father. Ben said that it has been a journey for him that started when he was around 15 years old. He told me that he had been playing his guitar in the garage and his mother heard him playing. He jokes that she heard “a few things that were somewhat apparently sounding right”. Ben remembers his mother telling his dad “Merle, you might want to listen to Ben play. He is playing pretty good.”
Merle began to listen to Ben play and eventually graduated from the garage to the front room band. Ben began jamming with the guys that came over to play. Ben talked about beating on a box, playing drums, and helped him with his timing.
Working his way from playing with the artists like Chris and Taylor Malpass, to the playing as a member of The Strangers. Ben embraced the opportunity to learn what the sound has been for many years. Ben fondly calls this his school. He was learning all he could from his father. He said he was learning “his sound and that Bakersfield sound”.
While Ben had a front row seat to learn from his father, Ben takes the other influences of artists and genres he likes, as he is working to find his own sound. Ben told me that he likes John Mayer, blues, and swing. He talks about how all of these influences eventually come together and he is on the journey to find “the right sound and the right song”.
I asked Ben about trying to make his way in the music industry with the last name Haggard. Ben talked about it being a blessing and somewhat a curse. He said that “automatic reaction to being Merle Haggard’s son is that you have already made it.” Ben continued by talking about that being far from the truth. “You almost have to work harder to even come close to what he (Merle) was good at.” He tries to show that he can mirror the good that he learned from his father.
While Ben is working to record his own material, he still pays tribute to his father by singing Merle’s amazing list of songs. Ben recalls his father telling him, not long before he died, “don’t be afraid to sing my songs and don’t worry what someone might think, worry about what you think.” Not only is Ben going out and playing his father’s songs, his older brother Noel is playing and singing with him.
Ben and Noel have been playing different venues while out touring. The show they are bringing to Rome City Brewing Company on December 12, 2017, is the acoustic show. Ben said that “these shows are more intimate and have a cool vibe”. Then they are playing shows with the full band. Ben and Noel are still going out to bigger venues and oversees with The Strangers. He says they will continue to go out as long as they have places to go. Ben talked about playing with Norm Hamlet, who is now 83 years old. Ben feels that playing with guys, like Norm, allows him to continue to learn from the greats of the business..
As Ben and I were wrapping up our time together, I asked him what we could expect from the show, at the Rome City Brewing Company on Tuesday December 12, 2017. Ben said that we can expect to hear them paying homage to their father “in a very respectful manner”. We can also expect to hear some abstract Haggard cuts and some songs that are not Haggard songs. Ben hopes to add some original aspects to the songs.
What can we expect from Ben Haggard in the coming years. He has moved to Nashville and trying to see what might come from the move. He is continuing to work on his craft. He is looking to record original material, but he wants to put out quality music. He hopes to be in the middle of an album for this time next year.
Ben Haggard is an amazing guy to speak with and you can hear the passion he feels in paying respect to his father’s music and his desire to put out quality music of his own. You can learn about Ben, his music, the tour, and all other things, by visiting his website and social media. I have included a few links below, including the link to purchase tickets for the show, in Rome at Rome City Brewing Company, on Tuesday December 12, 2017 brought to you by Bigfoot Music and Outdoors. Ben and Noel Haggard will be in downtown Rome, bringing real country. The show is an ALL AGES show. There are a few opening acts, for this show, including Preston Summerville, Rickey Cole, Corey Alan Rose, and Lance Peace. The tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 by visiting Ben Haggard tickets. Tickets are SOLD OUT for the Meet and Greet. If tickets remain, the day of the show, those can be purchased for $25. The show begins at 6:30 pm.