Appalachia Music

Silver Wings

Merle haggard fan

I grew up in a family of Merle Haggard fans. How can anyone deny the man’s musical genius? I believe his name was uttered with deep reverence in my house full of Appalachian music-because as a musician he truly has it all. Haggard has a voice that arguably is among the best ever recorded-he has the guitar playing down too-but his appeal doesn’t quite stop there.

Haggard has often been called The Poet of the Common Man. All one has to do his listen to his original songs to see the reason why. The songs Haggard pens speak directly to the every day hard working-trying to get ahead-life is sometimes a pain-Joe on the street. His songs are about real life-real life viewed in a way that resonates with folks.

Courting days

The Deer Hunter and Tipper – early 90s courting days

Through the years you can trace my love of Haggard songs by the way they came packaged.

  • First there were the albums me and Paul listened to as kids. One day as we were digging the Merle tunes I said “you know we should invite him to come over.” Even though Paul is 4 years younger than I am he knew I was crazy-he said “yeah like why would he come here-he’s famous.” I don’t remember for sure how young we were-but even at that early age-I had found the secret to Merle Haggard’s success. By listening to his songs-I truly thought he must be just like us. And hey someone was always coming by to pick and grin with Pap so why not Merle?
  • Elementary school-was made happier the day I got my first portable 8-track tape player. The teachers allowed me to bring it to school-as long as it was only played during recess. One of Granny’s trips to Gainesville GA. supplied my most popular 8-track for school-Merle’s Rainbow Stew album.
  • I remember the first car I had-well the first car I actually liked-and paid for myself. It had a cassette player-my previous cars did not. It was during my last year of high school-all the angst about what to do with my life and exactly what was life anyway-was going on full force. The Merle song that takes me back to those days-Momma Tried.
  • Most couples have a certain song or type of music that brings to mind the early days in their relationship. Without a doubt the courting days between me and The Deer Hunter were filled with the songs of Merle Haggard blaring from the cd player.

Over the past several months we’ve been playing around with one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs-Silver Wings. Paul joked that it almost seemed a sacrilege to put our version on youtube-cause no matter how many times we did it-our attempt would never even get near the original. I love playing it-cause it’s one of my favorite songs-but mostly-I love thinking of me and Paul sitting around on the floor listening to Merle nearly 30 years ago-and here we are today playing one of those same songs-picking and grinning in the kitchen.

For this Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot Silver Wings written by Merle Haggard.

Hope you enjoyed the song. Got a favorite Merle Haggard song-leave me a comment and tell me about it. You can check this link out to hear a few of my favorites: Merle Medley.


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in January of 2010.

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  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    September 13, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Beautiful job, well done!…..As good in its own right as anything!…..Thanks to all, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    May 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I love Mama Tried and The Seashores of Old Mexico. Merle wrote it.George Strait had the bigger hit from it.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I was lucky to get to attend one of his concerts way back when. I always loved Merle and his songs.
    The gang did a wonderful job on “Silver Wings”…loved it!
    By the way, I am having trouble getting my play list to show up…I don’t know what the problem could be…maybe operator error!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….Wasn’t it a beautiful day following a wonderful fun evening!
    PS….We seen us some “faeiries” coming back acrost that curvy lonely mountain road last night. Really there were nary a car in sight, in front of or behind or coming or a goin’. The “faeiries” would flit right in front of the car lights or toward the windshield in a teasing motion. Then fly away just as the car would about hit them…amazing! Now then, we did see us some “millers” too, and some right big “Luna Moths”, but I’m here to tell ya, we saw “faeiries”..with the little curved bodies and long narrow green wings and the tiny antennas on their heads…Believe it or Not!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    May 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    as I remember Pap remarking once before at the end of a song “By Ned we got it that time!” Well, they did it again.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    May 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Merle is one of the best. His son sing well too, Marty. I love the song Silver Wings.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    May 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Great job on Silver Wings. I was always partial to Lonesome Fugitive, and Momma Tried.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    May 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    tipper:i think of the “hag” every time i drive through Bakersfield. he has always been one of my favorites. great song writer,and wonderful singer. regards to all you “piggy’s ” k.o.h

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Great Job on a Classic, “The Hag” was at MerleFest this year and my relatives who attended were thrilled for the chance to see & hear a legend. I thought it was cool that Merle appeared at a festival that salutes another talented Merle, Merle Watson passed way to young but his father Doc Watson established a great memorial to him. I haven’t been able to establish a link but my Beloved Bride’s mother was a Watson so it’s possible she may be related to Doc & Merle Watson.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Myrle’s down to earth singing is what
    I like best. He seems like one of us.
    When he was parolled by Ronald Regan,
    the first thing he said was “I’d like
    to thank God and Ronald Regan for
    giving me a second chance.”…Ken

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    May 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

    The Great Merle has thrown away more good songs than most have ever written….

  • Reply
    Gina S
    May 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

    It’s a marvel how hearing an old song can shoot one back in time. I enjoyed the Blind Pig rendition.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    May 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Beautiful. “Here in Frisco” has always been my favorite. I bet yall could do a lovely job with it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Brad Baggett
    May 4, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I am humbled and honored to have been Merle’s friend for the past twenty years. A dear friend who knows this just sent me this article and video. I enjoyed your version and interpretation of Merle’s ” Silver Wings”. I have seen Merle’s songs played and sung numerous times by us ” common” folk and it is always a pleasure to witness because you can see and hear the reverence to his lyrics and melodies. I come away from your performance with the same result. People often ask ” What is my favorite Merle Haggard song? “…. I often refer to a man giving his woman a beautiful bouquet of roses and asking her which is her favorite. It is usually the one I am listening to a the moment but everyone has a couple songs when the name Merle Haggard is brought up…. MAMA TRIED… Because my Mom really did…… and BIG CITY…. Because I play this every time I put out of town on the way to a fishing trip. The song that pertains to my current life was actually written by Willie Nelson but Hag recorded it with Willie and performs it many times on his tours these days …BACK TO EARTH..Merle Haggard is my friend and my psychiatrist … and I always look forward to his next ” session”

  • Reply
    Susan Cook
    May 4, 2014 at 7:09 am

    The world seems a better place when Merle is singing!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Can’t beat a Haggard song. He’s got one of the best voices in country music. Such a shame they have ruined the music today calling that junk country. Paul & Pap always do a great job.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    May 4, 2014 at 6:23 am

    That was really good, yea you can never go wrong with any Hag song, we are big Haggard fans.. We get a kick out of watching some of the late 70’s early 80’s videos of Merle when cowboy hats were in..and watching my wife’s Uncle Gordon with him on stage, he actually purchased a house from Merle in Pulaski Tennessee and lived there until he died..

  • Reply
    patsy poor
    May 4, 2014 at 6:20 am

    that should be Harp not Hart!

  • Reply
    patsy poor
    May 4, 2014 at 5:51 am

    believe it or not M. Haggard is our relative. we are related to Haggard by way of grandpa Hart not grandma Hart.
    Newton Co. is just over the hill from us and that is where Merle’s grandma Hart lived and died along with our grandpa Hart.

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