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  1. Ramona Russum
    April 14, 2016 @ 6:51 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man who we all miss very much.

  2. Lorna Troyer
    April 14, 2016 @ 8:04 am

    Hi Bill: I’ve mentioned to you a couple of times that I’d seen you, gosh..must have been back in the 90’s in Kingston, ON. at the old Iron Horse Saloon! Gary & Mickey Code had opened for you. After the show I went out & spoke with you as you were getting on your bus & God Love you, you took time out to chat with me for a few minutes!! I never got to see Merle in person but always enjoyed his music (not particularly the ones about his times in prison) but he was a very talented man for sure!! I’ve read soo many write-ups since his passing but I think the 1 that touched me the most was when he told his son Ben that “he would die on his birthday” which was a week away but sure enough he did. I firmly believe that ppl. KNOW EXACTLY when their time is up! I know my Daddy & my Gramma did, there was certain things they wanted to see happen & then they were gone!! Thanks again for your newsletters Bill, I really enjoy hearing about what’s happening in Nashville. I’m HOPING to take a trip down there this summer to see you on the Opry & to Branson plus Graceland!! It would be a trip of a lifetime & at my age age if I don’t go now I probably never will!! Bye for now, Bill!!

    P.S. I believe my little ‘Sweetie’ Naomi Bristow is going again this summer (you sang on her Christmas CD with her, eh?) I have ALL her CD’s & am good friends with her family, knowing Naomi since she 1st started out at 10 yrs. old!! She has sang & recorded with some of the BEST>>Vince Gill, Jim Ed Brown, & you of course to name a few!! LOOK OUT>>She’ll be on stage at the Opry very soon I’m sure!!

  3. Shirley Tarpy
    April 13, 2016 @ 4:05 pm

    Bill, that was a wonderful tribute you just paid Merle. He was one of my favorites. I am sure going to miss him. But his songs live on in my living room….I enjoy your newsletter each month…your songs are so great…

  4. Emma Kinkle
    April 13, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

    I am very saddened at the passing of Merle, I feel like I have lost a very dear friend. R. I. P.

  5. Jalon Wall
    April 13, 2016 @ 12:48 pm

    Bill, Thanks for the tribute to Merle. He was one of my favorites. I can remember where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard Hag on the radio in the summer of 1965. It was an impression that I knew would be lasting. And also my hat is off two you for writing some of the best country music ever recorded. I love the CFR series celebrating 50 years of your music. I own it and watch it often. CFR could not have a better host for all the series. I enjoy your interaction with the guest and your massive knowledge of the industry. As with some the greats who departed this life when it is your time to cross that bridge, who in the world can fill your shoes. Thank you for great country music.

  6. Harriet Pihera
    April 12, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

    I was listening to WSM last night and really enjoyed the tribute that Eddie Stubbs did on Merle. I never saw him in person but my grandson did about 5 years ago with Kris Kristoferson at the All State Arena in Rosemont.

  7. Peter Tauber
    April 12, 2016 @ 3:19 pm

    I was listening to Sirius XM radio this past Sunday( 4/10/16) and heard your interview with Merle. I saw him in 2014 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. He received many standing ovations during the fantastic show..

  8. John Baney
    April 11, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

    I think it is nice to pay tributes to Merle and George Jones but why not to the 30 some that have passed on in the last few years. Jim Ed, Jimmy Dickens, George Hamilton, Bobby Lord to name a few that did not have a prison record. I judge a top singer by the songs that I can listen to and never get tired of them. You are on the top of my list. I can listen to your CDs and love every song. Bobby Bare next and Jim Ed Brown. I enjoyed Merle’s music but I did not respect the man.

    • admincw
      April 12, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

      Hi John, Bill has recorded many interviews over the 7 years that he did the show. You will find XM/Sirus replays them many times. We hope that helps! – Team BA

  9. Diane Braga
    April 11, 2016 @ 3:17 pm

    I was lucky enough to see Merle at the Sunset theater in Carmel, CA. last year. The place was packed, he could draw a crowd anywhere. The audience went wild when he came out to sing. He was one of the best. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories.

  10. Fran McGhee
    April 10, 2016 @ 1:53 am

    Thanks Bill for your remembrances of Merle. We were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts a couple of years ago at the Clearwater Casino, Lewiston, ID. We will always remember his quality of performance and how he appreciated his fans.

  11. Judy Reese
    April 9, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

    Thanks, Bill, now write a song for ol Merle…….

  12. Clara Walker
    April 9, 2016 @ 8:54 pm

    Thank you Bill,I loved Merle’s music but you are really my favorite. I saw Merle a few years ago at the Southern Junction Steak house in Royce City Texas,But my best is when I had you and your band at my Rodeo City Music Hall in Mesquite,Texas.Thank you for sharing your story of Merle.

  13. Patty
    April 9, 2016 @ 4:52 am

    Thanks Bill. Another legend is gone & country music has lost a true artist. He was an amazing songwriter & singer & his music will live on. The “Hag” was one of a kind. RIP Merle, you will be missed.

  14. lexiussmycar
    April 9, 2016 @ 2:20 am

    As always, Bill, what a terrific memory. I saw Merle last fall in concert in Colorado Springs. What a show. He too is my favorite. He had a way of performing that was special. Few words and many great songs. RIP

  15. Mary Knapp
    April 9, 2016 @ 1:57 am


  16. Harriet Pihera
    April 8, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

    Thank you Bill for the wonderful story. God bless.

  17. Mary vanatta
    April 8, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

    Bill Im sorry for the loss of your 2 friends in the last 30 days.
    Its always hard loseing a loved one.
    But now they are singing in Heavens choir Long with Jim Ed and Little Jimmy and in no pain.
    My prayers go out to you and their familys and friends for your loss.
    Oh and thank you for answering me about Let Me Whisper Darling. I have found an LP and my daughter is helping me to order it.
    God Bless You And Yours.
    Mary Vanatta.

  18. Dorothy Victoria
    April 8, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

    Rest in peace Merle! You are now singing with some of the greats in heaven I will miss you. I’m sorry that I never got to see you but I have many of your CD’s and will pay them and enjoy them. Thank you Bill fro this tribute to him. Thoughts and Prayers to Theresa & all the family. Love you Merle.

  19. Chuck and Estelle Brown
    April 8, 2016 @ 11:38 am

    No one could have said it better than Whisperin’ Bill. Merle was that gracious to us DJ’s too. Thank you again Bill, for just being YOU. God Bless You.

  20. Helen & Charles Jetzelsberger
    April 8, 2016 @ 11:16 am

    Thanks for your newsletters. The tribute to Merle Haggard was special. We’ve seen him in person and have visited on occasion with Leona Williams (another special entertainer). We’ve been truly blessed to have seen so many super country stars — keep the traditional country music coming. Have a wonderful year. (The 50-year get-together was memorable to me and my husband — we’ll never forget it!).

  21. Naomi8144483325 Winnick
    April 8, 2016 @ 10:05 am

    Thanks for sharing about Merle with us. Another great country singer, songwriter gone too soon.

  22. bob white australia
    April 8, 2016 @ 9:50 am

    thanks Bill for taking the time to share that story with us I was a teenager when I first heard tips of my fingers and later discovered Merle like yourself his work was unique and he will be sadly missed rest in peace Merle

  23. Ruth Plencner
    April 8, 2016 @ 3:27 am

    Great tribute to Merle. May he RIP. God Bless his family.

  24. Gerry Huntley
    April 8, 2016 @ 2:20 am

    I was fortunate to see Merle in concert last summer in Spindale, NC at the community college there. I knew I was seeing history and a keeper in my mind for life. It was a spiritual moment. I am 68 and have seen Merle several times. But, this last time, I believe everyone knew how special the moment was. He sang his heart out, even though he was in poor health, just like George Jones and Ray Price were at the end. They all loved their fans and went on to their Maker the way they wanted it > near their fans and family. Gerry in Asheville, NC

  25. PJ Steelman
    April 8, 2016 @ 2:18 am

    Thank you, Bill, for a wonderful story. I appreciate it greatly….PJ

  26. Lou Elliott
    April 8, 2016 @ 2:14 am

    I met Merle Haggard in 1964 at the Humoresque Club in Hayward, California. My wife & I were there listening to the house band, and the waitress came by and said we would have to go into the bar, or pay $5 each to stay and listen to the special surprise guest they were having. We paid the money and it was well worth it. The door opened and in walked a man carrying a white Fender Stratocaster guitar (not in a case) and a long amplifier cord, wearing black pants, and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He handed his guitar to the band’s front man. They introduced him as Merle Haggard. My wife & I had never heard of him, but WOW, did he ever put on a show. He really impressed me with his imitations of other country artists. At break time I got to talk to him, and don’t believe I’ve ever met a nicer person. I saw him on TV a few years later & he did his imitations. One of them was Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash came walking on stage and said, “I didn’t know I was on yet”. Merle Haggard sounded just like him.

  27. Jaxie Hartman
    April 8, 2016 @ 2:04 am

    My condolences go out to his family and band, who must go on without him. Merle’s passing is a great loss to all true Country Music fans. He’s now made it to the ultimate personal appearance…. in Heaven, singing with so many others and the musicians that have gone on ahead.

  28. Carolyn Mullins
    April 8, 2016 @ 1:57 am

    One of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time. I love his music, songs, and deep bravato on some of his songs. May God hold you in his gracious arms

  29. Elaine Dasher
    April 8, 2016 @ 1:54 am

    In about 1968 or ’69, we saw Merle, Waylon Jennings and Freddie Hart at a concert in Perry, Florida. After the show, we went to what was I believe the only restaurant open in town – a very small diner. We had just sat down at a table, and in walked Merle and the whole bunch! They asked if we could move to another area so that they could move the tables together and all sit togehter. To this day I kick myself, because none of us thought to ask them for an autograph! Guess we were too shy, or didn’t want to bother them! Now I am really sad that I’ll never get another chance. Bill, I have never been in a “fan club” before, but it is wonderful to feel that we can actually communicate with you, and that you take the time to keep us updated on your life. I read your first book, and have your new book ordered – at least I will have your autograph!!!

  30. Gary Gage
    April 8, 2016 @ 1:32 am

    Merle’s lyrics:

    Well time sure does fly by doesn’t it Diana
    It’s been almost two years now since you’ve been gone
    Speaking of time
    I guess mine’s about up
    Just another breath or two
    And I’ll be home.

    Well Merle, you’ve made it to your eternal home and I know beyond any doubt that as I write this, you now rest at the feet of our Lord and Savior while I listen to your haunting, but ever appropriate recording of If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven.

    Thank you Bill for your touching words and thoughts of Merle, we are all so blessed to have shared in the God given talents of yourself and Mighty Merle.

  31. Gaéts Gravelle
    April 8, 2016 @ 1:25 am

    Beautiful testimony to the man, singer, and songwriter that he was. He will be missed.

    April 8, 2016 @ 1:02 am

    Beautiful tribute to a Country Music Icon. Merle was a songwriter, singer, musician, actor……son, husband, father and grandfather. While there were times Merle had a dry wit and some thought him to be tough…..the real Merle had
    a heart of gold. May Merle RIP knowing that he and all he contributed to the music industry will never be forgotten.

  33. Pauline B Anderson
    April 8, 2016 @ 12:04 am

    He was one of a kind..a true country entertainer. I regret I never got to see him in person, but hs songs will live forever..just like yours. Rest in peace, Merle. You will be missed. :'(

  34. Ann-Marie Fisher
    April 7, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to your friend and our hero, Merle Haggard! Thank you, Bill!