Vince Gill has often spoke fondly of Merle Haggard. He has shared on several occasions of how Haggard was his biggest musical inspiration, and it is only fitting that he would honor his late friend with a personal song.

On April 15, Gill debuted a new song he wrote that pays tribute to Haggard at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. The song, titled, "A World Without Haggard," discusses how Gill first heard of Haggard's death while on the road in Georgia.

"Hell, I thought he'd live forever / He shaped every note I play," Gill sings alongside soaring pedal steel from Paul Franklin.

Later, he details what a world without Haggard would be like. "Who'd tell the truth to you and me?" he sings. "Oh, I'm lost in a world without Haggard / It's a world I thought I would never see."

“Merle Haggard was my No. 1 inspiration in my life,” Gill says in an interview with Nashville's News Channel 5. “The way he led a band, the way he played, the way he sang, the way he wrote songs was the pinnacle in every level to me. Nobody equals Merle in my eyes. That was tough.”

"I don’t know anybody that doesn’t feel the way I do about Merle Haggard. He was the most beloved guy that our music has ever seemed to be put out there," he adds. "At times like that, everybody stands back and goes, ‘Let’s refocus and remember what really matters.'"

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