While he may no longer be with us, the spirit of Merle Haggard lives on through the voices of the talented children he left behind. The youngest of The Hag’s three sons, Ben Haggard, carries his father’s torch with a masterful rendition of his father’s song, “Footlights.”
Before the passing of The Hag, the icon shared a piece of advice with Ben. “Take the band, don’t slow down, sing my songs until you have your own and don’t let no one tell you that you can’t,” Ben shared of one of his final moments with his father in an Instagram post.
The son of the music icon performed his father’s ’70s hit in the Nashville Palace in a dazzling video filmed by famed guitar company Fender. Armed with his acoustic guitar, the talented 24-year-old showed off his killer vocals in a manner highly reminiscent of his father.
By the time Merle released “Footlights” in 1979, the country icon had spent almost half his life performing professionally and was beginning to feel a bit worn down. The singer released the song for his album Serving 190 Proof, telling the story of a musician who doesn’t enjoy performing as much as he used to but feels there’s no other option in life than to keep on getting up on stage night after night.
You can watch Ben’s rendition of “Footlights” below.