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

Get To Know Merle Haggard’s Children Who Got His Talent In Music

Merle Haggard's Kids
by

Almost everyone knows that the “Okie from Muskogee” has married five times, but not much has been known about Merle Haggard’s children. Did you know that they are as musically talented as their father? Most of them are even following their father’s musical footsteps.

Let’s get to know more about them below.

Dana Haggard

Dana was the first of four children for Merle Haggard and his first wife, Leona Hobbs. Unfortunately, Dana died in 2018 when she was 61. She is believed to have died in her sleep of natural causes. Though her brother, Ben, revealed that Dana was experiencing heartache upon the second anniversary of their father’s death.

“Her husband left for work early in the morning, and she was still asleep,” her sister Kelli Haggard Patterson said. “When he got home later that day, he found her, and she hadn’t moved.” Dana left behind her husband, Terry Lemons, and their four children, a stepson and nine grandchildren.

Dana was born in 1957. She spent her early years touring with her brother Marty for the short-lived Marty and Dana and the Driftwood Band. She also used to be a backup singer of the Strangers, Haggard’s backing band for several years. 

Kelli described Dana as outspoken and outgoing, that “she couldn’t be in a grocery checkout line without making a friend.”

Marty Haggard

Marty, who was born in 1958, was named after singer-songwriter Marty Robbins. He started his acting career during his teens. He had a recurring role in the CBS drama titled The Fitzpatricks. He also has a bit part in a TV movie that starred legendary actor, Henry Fonda.

Marty toured with Dana for three years as Marty and Dana and the Driftwood Band. Due to his father’s request, Marty joined Merle’s road band, playing rhythm guitar and singing harmony. 

In 1985, Marty pursued a solo career. He signed with MTM Records and released four singles. The most successful among was “Trains Make Me Lonesome.” The song peaked at No. 57 on the country charts and helped him earned a nomination from the Academy of Country Music for Top New Male Vocalist. 

Today, Marty still performs as a tribute to his dad.

Kelli Haggard Patterson 

Kelli is the third among Merle Haggard’s kids. Though not much has been known about Kelli, she is often present in their family events, especially when they lost their eldest sister.

She considered Dana to be her best friend. “Our life when we were young was very different from what dad’s youngest ones, Ben and Jenessa, experienced, so the four of us, Dana, me, Marty and Noel, clung to each other. This is like having a limb removed,” she said.

In 2018, she also spoke on behalf of the family when they decided to put Haggard’s home in Bakersfield out in the market. Kelli was only seven years old when their family moved to the 3,600-square-foot house.

Noel Haggard

Noel is another country music artist in the family. “I started messing with music when I was 13,” Noel revealed. “My first guitar came from Merle – it was a Martin Triple O, 45-D Jimmie Rodgers style. There were only 150 made, and it had my name in it in abalone. He gave it to me for my 14th birthday party. He wanted me to quit playing his!”

In 1997, he signed a recording deal with Atlantic Records and released his debut album, “One Lifetime.” Two singles from the album reached No. 75 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Nowadays, he’s been touring together with his brother Ben. Merle’s sons continue to pass along the legacy of their father’s music while also forging their own path in the country music industry.

Jenessa Haggard Bennett

https://www.facebook.com/144852185668852/photos/a.250394171781319/250402181780518/?type=3&theater

Jenessa is Merle’s eldest child with his fifth wife, Theresa Ann Lane. Though she did not follow her father’s and siblings’ musical footsteps since she has been to culinary school, she handled most of Merle’s business.

In 2016, Jenessa and her husband, Brian Bennett, worked with the Colorado Weed Co. to dedicate a number of strains to her father. They started out with what Merle liked to smoke. 

Ben Haggard

Ben Haggard is the second child of Merle with Lane, and of course, he’s into music too. He’s been the lead guitarist in Merle’s longtime band for eight years, ever since he was 15 years old. He was also a regular on Merle’s recordings.

Ben recalled his father telling him, “You’d be an idiot not to take my guitar and my bus, not to sing my songs for as long as you can… Go out there and play until there’s nobody to play to.”

Scott Haggard

Scott is a product of a relationship outside Merle’s five marriages. He was raised in Alabam and did not meet his father until he was around 37 years old. Just like his brothers, Scott has also decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by performing country music.

However, there has been a delay in pursuing his dream of becoming a country music singer. Due to the rough economy, Scott became a truck driver instead. Finally, in 2006, he was able to start fulfilling the dream and headlined with many country music greats.

Merle Haggard’s children, especially his sons, have definitely taken the torch from the paterfamilias as they continue to showcase their talents to keep his legacy alive.

Latest Stories

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 ...

Randy Travis A Country Legend's Fight for His Voice and His Legacy

What Happened to Randy Travis After Massive Stroke and Dire Financial Situation?

What happened to Randy Travis? That has been the question of many of his fans after his massive stroke in 2013.  Randy Travis is a legend and an icon in ...

5 Must-Hear Lainey Wilson Collaborations

Here Are 5 Lainey Wilson Collaborations You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

Country singer Lainey Wilson’s discography isn’t just a string of solo hits. Over the years, she has also steadily stacked up her collaboration resume — earning several number ones from ...

Lukas Nelson And Sierra Ferrell + Crying Time

Lukas Nelson & Sierra Ferrell Harmonize on Buck Owens’ “Crying Time”

Buck Owen’s 1964 track “Crying Time,” popularized by Ray Charles, is making waves again after Lukas Nelson and Sierra Ferrell shared a casual snippet of their take on the song.  ...