Ben Haggard has definitely made a name early in the country music arena as the youngest son of the late American country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist Merle Haggard. As a kid born with his father’s music legacy, it can be hard to step out of the shadows. But with his amazing talent, it is not surprising that he is creating a name and sound of his own in the industry.
Get to know him more with these 10 facts that you most probably didn’t know about him.
1. He is the son of the late country legend Merle Haggard and Theresa Ann Lane.
Born on December 14, 1992, Ben Haggard is the only son of Merle Haggard and Theresa Ann Lane. He has an older sibling named Jenessa Haggard who was born 3 years before him. Oftentimes he and his sister would be mistaken as their dad’s grandchildren.
2. He is the youngest son of the late country legend, Merle Haggard.
Ben is the youngest son and child out of the six children of the late Merle Haggard. Merle had been married four times before he met Lane. He was first married to Leonna Hobbs in 1956, and they had four children in their eight years of marriage namely Dana, Marty, Kelly, and Noel. Dana passed away last 2018 at the age of 61. So now, Ben has 3 living step-siblings.
But there were certain sources who mention Scott Haggard, who is Merle’s son with Lanorah Margaret Bowles. The two had a brief relationship back in 1968 but they were never married. Scott reportedly met up with Merle in 2004, where the country singer first knew about him. They had a DNA test to confirm paternity.
Merle did not have children with singer Barrie Owens, Leona Williams, and Debbie Parret (all of which he was married to before Lane in 1993).
3. At the age of 15, he was named lead guitarist of his dad’s band, the Strangers.
Ben admitted later on that he was overwhelmed with the daunting task as he was plagued with stage fright. Additionally, he was standing and playing with other great musicians like musical director Norm Hamlet and guitarist Scott.
But he was a talented guitarist and so he caught up quickly with his dad’s heavy hitters. According to him, he went straight to major leagues without any experience on stage. He had to adapt or he would essentially lose the chance to play. He never regretted the opportunity because it taught him a lot of things.
4. He shared a stage with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Blake Shelton in the 2014 Grammy Awards.
He joined the stage as the guitarist while the four country music artists performed ‘The Highwayman’ and ‘Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.’ He was just 21 years old back then.
5. He is a talented vocalist as well.
While many know him as a guitar virtuoso, Ben is also a very talented vocalist. He had his father’s well-worn gravitas but with an added fresh twist. In 2013, he shared this video of him singing the classic country song ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night.’ You can also tune in to his Twitter account, where he sometimes posts cover songs.
6. He has a guitar carved with his father’s name.
Dad carved his name in my Tele 👍🏻😀 pic.twitter.com/8THsely9Sp— Ben Haggard (@BenHaggardMusic) February 10, 2016
And this just wasn’t any carving. Merle carved his own name on his son’s guitar, which Ben excitedly shared on Twitter around two months before his dad passed away in 2016.
7. He performed with his brother Noel for a tribute song for Merle.
After Merle passed, Ben joined his brother for a stunning performance of their father’s song ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’ in a tribute concert in Florence, South Carolina. They also teamed up with country legends Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
They also did other collaboration performances together like The Runnin’ Kind I’m A Lonesome Fugitive/All In The Movies, which has now been viewed over 24 million times.
8. His musical personality is influenced by his father.
As he creates his sound in country music, Ben admitted that he was like his father, who feels a bit of an outsider in the contemporary country music category. He wanted to write and sing songs that he values within his heart.
In the process of making his own sound, he had developed a creative kinship with Sturgill Simpson, American country music singer-songwriter and actor. Among the 6 albums that Simpson has already released, one of them was Metamodern Sounds in Country Music in 2014, which was a throwback to the music Merle Haggard made. Sturgill agreed to produce Ben’s album when he was ready to record. At that time, Ben was simply content in playing Merle’s songs for his many fans.
9. In 2019, he performed one of his original songs at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Ben released his song “As Haggard as They Come” in 2019. This was a tribute song he wrote for his late father, which he performed on June 26, 2019, at the Grand Ole Opry.
10. He is a dad.
Ben Haggard welcomed his son in 2018 with his longtime girlfriend, Jeyda Beyzade. The two announced the pregnancy in November 2017. And after 35 hours of labor and even serious complications, the two welcomed their baby boy with Ben sharing a black-and-white photo of him cradling their baby.