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Merle Haggard’s Family Wants Him to Quit Touring

Ryan Hunter / Guitar Center

Merle Haggard‘s health has forced him to cancel several tour dates this year. The singer was hospitalized last month for double pneumonia, and in a new interview with Garden & Gun Magazine, he reveals that his family wants him to quit touring.

The publication interviews both Haggard and Sturgill Simpson, who are both musicians and former railroad men, and the two discuss the toll touring can have on one’s family.

“I feel it’s a double-edged sword,” Haggard says. “It’s what keeps me alive and it’s what f—s up my life. It’s hard to have a family, so I try and split it up. I try to build a life here of a reasonable sort, and then go and jump on the bus.”

Simpson says he can relate, as he has struggled with having a son and needing to spend time on the road.

“That’s interesting when you say that it’s what keeps you alive and what destroys your life at the same time. That’s been the biggest thing as far as the transitional aspect of this in my family’s life,” Simpson admits. “It’s been the hardest part for me. Everything coincided around the same time, my son being born and then my record took off, and then I spent the first year of his life on the road, watching him grow through pictures. That was all a little bittersweet and hard to swallow some days.”

Haggard says he recently bought a new tour bus despite his family’s wishes, and likens his future plans to an old adage.

“It’s like the old saying: ‘You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.'”

Haggard has already canceled 10 shows scheduled for March, and doctors say they want him off the road for at least another month.

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