Ben Haggard and the Strangers, "What Am I Gonna Do"
Haggard's guitarslinger son Ben Haggard was one of the night's bandleaders, but he also had his own time in the spotlight, commanding his dad's longtime group the Strangers with the same swagger of his old man. In a very Merle-like truckers cap, he was the night's most visible nod to the late legend, and when he sang "What Am I Gonna Do" to start the show, he summoned his father's famously quavering voice. Yes, Merle may be gone, but there's something reassuring about knowing that Ben remains to preserve the legacy. J.H.