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Catlettsburg's free Labor Day show to feature Merle Haggard

Aug. 28, 2013 @ 11:25 AM

  CATLETTSBURG, Ky. —  A Labor Day isn’t a Labor Day without country music roaring through the heart of downtown Catlettsburg, Ky.
 The late, great George Jones filled that slot from 1999 until just a couple years ago when his health became to frail for travel.
That torch is passed to Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard, who will put on a free show at 9 p.m. Monday. George’s presence will still be felt as The Jones Boys open the show, along with Brittany Allyn.
 There’s a full plate of Labor Day festivities in Catlettsburg, running Thursday through Monday. Enjoy a historical hayride on Friday, a 5K run, a frolic in the park,  and family movie night on Saturday, a church service on Sunday and at 10 a.m. Monday the grand parade, followed by courthouse music at 11 a.m.

  Haggard, who was last in the Tri-State in 2012 for a show at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena with Kris Kristofferson, has chalked up more than 40 No. 1 country hits.

 Over a distinguished fifty year-plus career that’s taken him from a drastically misspent criminal youth to solitary confinement in San Quentin to the Country Music Hall of Fame,Haggard has memorably portrayed, in song, myriad archetypal characters. Whether fugitive, troubadour, misfit or crusader, he’s explored each perspective with a critical acuity, a hard-won skill.

Immediately embraced by country fans, Haggard also earned the respect of his peers.  In addition to the 40 #1 hits, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. He has won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter and most recently acknowledged with a Kennedy Center Honor in recognition for his lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.  His body of work easily places him beside Hank Williams as one of the most influential artists in country music. In 2010, Haggard released “I Am What I Am,”  and in 2011, the also critically acclaimed CD, “Workin’ In Tennessee.”

  For more info, check out the Catlettsburg Labor Day Celebration Facebook page. Read about more cool things to do this long weekend inside Thursday’s Weekend section in the Herald-Dispatch.