Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

Ben Haggard’s “Footlights” Rendition: A Heartfelt Homage To His Father’s Legacy

Ben Haggard + Footlights

Country singer Ben Haggard went straight to the major leagues, performing on stage at 15 as the lead guitarist of his father’s band, The Strangers. He said, “I never had any experience on stage, and I had to adapt or essentially not play.” But he didn’t regret it because it taught him many things. And now, he has grown confident in his own skin. In fact, part of his music repertoire covers Merle Haggard’s songs, like “Footlights” from The Hag’s 1979 album Serving 190 Proof. 

Ben’s voice carries hints of his father’s well-worn gravitas, and at times, it could fool. That is, if you happened to be just listening to his voice, you would’ve thought it was Merle Haggard singing. And that was exactly what went down in his stripped-down rendition of his father’s track “Footlights” in collaboration with Fender. 

Ben Haggard’s Rendition

Down in the Nashville Palace, Ben Haggard sat down with his guitar to perform his rendition of “Footlights” – a track that tells the story of a musician, the struggles and sacrifices of being in the spotlight – a poignant reflection of his father’s life. 

And just like his other covers, this song revered the original material. Not to mention that he also knew how to nail his old man’s signatures, such as the vocal slides down. But it wasn’t just that. His deep connection with his father’s music allowed him to deliver a genuine understanding of the emotional nuances of the song. 

Aside from the delivery, his skillful guitar play was also worth noting. 

According to Ben, his father told him that when playing, he should learn a song’s melody all the way through. “He hates hearing somebody playing a thousand notes: He’d rather somebody play the melody so the people can understand it.” And he did as he was told. When he mastered that, the next level was to replicate the highly advanced signature style of the greats who played on his father’s recordings, like Grady Martin, Roy Nichols, and Reggie Young.

He graduated from the garage to the stage at 15. Merle was critical of him for a while, but he eventually got to a place where he earned his father’s smile. Years later, the smile became a natural part of his scenery. In his cover, those years of learning and playing on stage definitely shone through. 

Catch Ben Haggard’s rendition of “Footlights” in the video below.

Latest Stories

Hank Williams - Hey Good Lookin'

Hank Williams’ Relatable Charm in “Hey, Good Lookin’” 

When Hank Williams arrived in 1949 in Nashville, he didn’t wait long to become one of the biggest stars in country music. A year later until 1951, he enjoyed the ...

Cavendish Beach Musical Festival 2024

Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title:Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2024Festival Duration:July 5-7, 2024Venue:Route 6 Ranch in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, CanadaPerformers Include:Brothers Osborne, Tyler Childers, Zac Brown Band, and moreTicket Information:Get Your Tickets Here ...

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic 2024

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 2024: What You Need To Know

Festival Title:Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic 2024Festival Duration:July 4, 2024Venue:Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, New JerseyPerformers Include:Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and moreTicket Information:Get Your ...

Travis Tritt + Help Me Hold On

Travis Tritt Begs His Lover For One More Chance In “Help Me Hold On”

Country singer Travis Tritt scored his first number-one hit with his second release from his 1990 debut album Country Club titled “Help Me Hold On.” He co-wrote it with accomplished ...

Carrie Underwood Falls Off Stage on Tail End of South Carolina Concert

Carrie Underwood Rocks Carolina Country Music Fest Despite Rain

Country singer Carrie Underwood graced the last day stage of the Carolina Country Music Fest 2024 in Myrtle Beach and delivered one hell of a performance despite the massive downpour. ...

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Seeks Annulment on Grounds of Fraud

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Cites Fraud

American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus reached a breaking point with Australian singer Firerose just after seven months of marriage. According to court documents obtained by the Associated Press, Billy ...

Travis Tritt + Best of Intentions

Travis Tritt Made A Career Comeback With “Best of Intentions”

It was 2000, and it had been six years since Travis Tritt hit the top of the charts and three since his last appearance in the Top 10. The first ...

Sonny James Death

A Moment To Remember: Country Singer Sonny James’ Death At 87

Country singer Sonny James, known for his 1957 track “Young Love,” which topped both country and pop charts, passed away on February 22, 2016, at Nashville’s Alive Hospice. According to ...

Wynonna Sings Coal Miner's Daughter with Loretta Lynn's Granddaughter Emmy Russell - Idol

Wynonna Judd Joins Emmy Russell On Idol To Sing “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Emmy Russell started her American Idol journey with an original song. She fittingly ended it with a tribute cover of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for her late grandmother and country legend ...

Johnny Cash + Forty Shades of Green

“Forty Shades of Green”: Johnny Cash’s Ode to Ireland

Country legend Johnny Cash released an ode to Ireland appreciating its beauty with “Forty Shades of Green” as part of his album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash ...

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.