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Haggard and Strangers are now just a quick click away

November 12, 2005|Steven Barrie-Anthony | Times Staff Writer

Merle Haggard and the Strangers will play today in the front room of the country singer's Northern California home. For 15 bucks, you're invited.

To watch via your computer, that is. "We'll webcast and let the world decide whether or not they like it," said Haggard, who has dubbed the series of six Saturday afternoon shows "Merle Haggard on the Sabbath."

"We're doing something that's never really been done with my kind of music.

"I've always wanted to do this, ever since I was a child and I heard Bob Wills on a noonday broadcast," Haggard said.

With technology now available to stream video over the Web, he said that he will use it to create the same kind of soundscape and relaxed environment he remembers from the radio days of his youth.

"There will be a lot less wham-bang. It's more about circling up in the front room and playing music like folks used to do before it became so commercial," Haggard said. "We're trying to give it to you as raw as we can."

Each show will be a mixture of taped and live sets, interspersed with bits such as a "Martha Stewart-type segment where my wife will get her favorite recipe and show you how it's cooked," Haggard said.

"My band will be my helpers in presenting the show, and we'll each have microphones, and we'll discuss whatever topic comes to mind," he said. "On shows, after the first one, we'll have the capability of going to the phones and e-mail, and taking requests."

The show, at www.merlehaggard.com, will stream at 3 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17. If it's successful, Haggard intends to expand the run, perhaps indefinitely, in which case he and his family may even move out of the home and turn it into a full-time Internet stage.

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