My grandma was a big Merle Haggard
fan. We spent many a summer night, sitting on the back porch of her house in Arizona, Grandma drinking Budweiser, me drinking 7-Up, Merle or Willie on the cassette player; I liked singing the chorus of “Okie from Muskogee” at the top of my lungs, whenever possible. Now in his mid-70s, Haggard’s been at this country music business for a mighty long stretch, but age ain’t nothing but a number for the poet of the common man’s voice, energy or sense of humor. After all, this is the guy who wrote, “Half of My Garden Is for Willie,” a song about growing tobacco, mushrooms and cannabis for his bandana-and-braided compadre. He plays Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Uptown Theatre. 1350 Third St., Napa. 8pm. $80—$90. 707.259.0123.