In 1987, Epic Records released Merle Haggard's album Chill Factor with the single "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star." Borrowing a walking bass line from early rock and R&B, Haggard wishes upon a star not for riches but for reconciliation with a lover. It went on to become the country icon's last Billboard country Number One song.
Haggard recently unearthed the tune for the 11th season of the live performance and interview series Guitar Center Sessions, which airs on Audience Network. Backed by a relatively small band, the Bakersfield native's voice is weathered but confident and he gives spotlight time for solos from electric guitar and saxophone. Hosted by broadcaster and journalist Nic Harcourt, the full episode of Guitar Center Sessions with Haggard airs Friday, December 18th at 9:00 p.m. ET on Audience Network (DirecTV channel 239 or AT&T U-Verse channel 1114).
Earlier in 2015, Haggard and Willie Nelson released the collaborative album Django and Jimmie to great acclaim, topping the country albums chart and landing inside the Top 10 of the all-genre Billboard 200. Haggard and Nelson have played a few joint shows to support the release, but health problems for both men have forced a few dates to be postponed. Most recently, Haggard had to postpone one weekend's shows in California after being hospitalized with pneumonia. His next scheduled engagement is January 30th in Mescalero, New Mexico.