Merle Haggard's influence knew no bounds, attracting fans from all genres of music. That powerful pull has inspired a new album from indie folk-rock artist Bonnie "Prince" Billy, a forthcoming collection of Haggard covers called Best Troubadour.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy, also known as Will Oldham, is a longtime fan of the "Okie From Muskogee" Hall of Famer, having covered a Haggard song at his first public performance 25 years ago. He also interviewed the legendary songwriter for a magazine feature in 2009 and included a cover of "Because of Your Eyes" on a 7" vinyl release in 2011.
Best Troubadour is the culmination of that decades-long love affair with Haggard's music, featuring 16 tracks from various stages of Haggard's lengthy career. Oldham recorded the songs in his home with the Bonafide United Musicians.
In advance of the album, Oldham has shared a new song, a cover of "Mama Tried" with an accompanying interactive VR video (watch it above). Oldham is faithful to the playful twang of the original song, with his band adding the occasional instrumental flourish.
Best Troubadour is out May 5th. Here's the album's full track listing:
1. "The Fugitive"
2. "I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall"
3. "The Day the Rains Came "
4. "Haggard (Like I've Never Been Before)"
5. "I Always Get Lucky With You"
7. "My Old Pal"
8. "Roses in the Winter"
9. "Some of Us Fly"
10. "Wouldn't That Be Something"
12. "That's the Way Love Goes"
13. "Nobody's Darling"
14. "What I Hate" (excerpt)
15. "I Am What I Am"
16. "If I Could Only Fly"