Hamlet, Markham, and Owen will visit CMHoF before Haggard performs at Ryman Auditorium on April 11.

Norm Hamlet, Don Markham, and Fuzzy Owen will visit the Country Music Hall of Fame for an interview before Merle Haggard performs at Ryman Auditorium on April 11.

Bakersfield Sound pioneers Norm Hamlet, Don Markham, and Fuzzy Owen will discuss their longtime involvement in Bakersfield’s music community and their decades of work with Merle Haggard. In the late 1940s, Charles “Fuzzy” Owen began playing steel guitar in Bakersfield clubs, which led to his original recording of “A Dear John Letter” (with Bonnie Owens) and a regular job on the TV show Cousin Herb’s Trading Post. As a partner in Tally Records, Owen signed Haggard to his first recording contract. He produced and played steel on Haggard’s early records, and became a permanent member of the singer’s business organization. Pedal steel guitarist Hamlet recorded in the 1950s with the Farmer Boys and other Bakersfield-area acts before joining Haggard’s band in 1967. Saxophonist and trumpeter Markham played in many of the house bands around Bakersfield in the 1950s and ’60s, and had joined the Strangers by the early 1970s. Hamlet and Markham appear on a long list of Haggard classics and remain core members of the Strangers today. Still based in Bakersfield, Hamlet, Markham, and Owen will visit the museum for an interview before Haggard performs at Ryman Auditorium on April 11. The interview and concert happen the week of Haggard’s seventy-fifth birthday (April 6), and shortly after the opening of the Museum’s major exhibition The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country. Free.

Pick up your program voucher at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Information Desk or Box Office beginning at 10:30 a.m. on April 11. Voucher required for admittance. Limited seating on a first come, first served basis. Suggest that you get in line at least 30 minutes early. Voucher does not guarantee a seat after the program begins.

Merle will perform at the Ryman April 11 – the show is sold out, but you can click here to enter to win a limited edition Hatch Show Print created especially for his concert.

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