Merle Haggard, Jamey Johnson, Jaida Dreyer | Congress Theater | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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Merle Haggard, Jamey Johnson, Jaida Dreyer 

When: Wed., Aug. 1, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $30-$50

At 75 years old, Merle Haggard is one of the last superstars still standing (and touring) from the generation of country musicians who pushed the form out of the hillbilly ghetto and two-stepped it right into the rock 'n' roll era. While the 1969 novelty number "Okie From Muskogee" is destined to forever remain Haggard's best-known song, both because it was a huge crossover success and because it helped spur a half century of politically reactionary country, his massive discography is full of far better and subtler material—especially from the period in the 70s when he led the so-called "outlaw country" movement. Over the past decade or so Hag's gone back to basics: on album after album, the latest being last year's Working in Tennessee (Vanguard), he's alternated between tributes to formative influences such as Bob Wills and sparse, folky ruminations on mortality and music that are easily among the best things he's ever recorded. —Miles Raymer Jamey Johnson and Jaida Dreyer open.  A

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