Today, we remember some of the influential artists we lost in 2016 whose music has become synonymous with the Dixie Chicken.
Merle Haggard – A true legend who gave us songs like “Mama Tried”, “Okie From Muskogee”, and the always popular “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink.” Merle’s music has been part of the Dixie Chicken since our doors opened in 1974 and will continue to live on in our hearts (and speakers) for years to come!
Guy Clark – He was described as “a King of Texas Troubadours” by the New York Times, and he certinaly lived up to that title. The man from little old Monahans, Texas had songs recorded by the likes of Steve Wariner, Alan Jackson, David Allan Coe, and the great Johnny Cash. Many of today’s Texas artists looked at his poetic story teller style and made it their own. If you listen close enough, you’ll hear many songs at the Chicken that Guy Clark had a hand in writing.
Glenn Frey – As a founding member of the Eagles, Glenn helped blur the line of country and rock long before today’s acts were even born. Getting his start playing guitar for Bob Seger, he eventually made his mark writing and singing lead vocals on many of the Eagles biggest hits including “Take It Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, and “Heartache Tonight”. Whether it’s the Eagles version, or the numerous Americana covers, Glenn’s contribution to music won’t be forgotten in the walls of the Dixie Chicken.
Ralph Stanley – The banjo is becoming a lost art in today’s world of computer beats. Dr. Ralph Stanley was one of the all-time greats with a career spanning 70 years. Many younger music fans might recognize him from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack where he was the 2002 Grammy for Best Male Country Performance for the song “Oh Death.”
Leon Russell – Last and certainly not least is the man from Lawton, Oklahoma. While seeming to appear tailormade for the Progressive Country/Americana sound that the Chicken is known for, it might surprise a lot of folks to know that Leon got his start playing piano for the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. He never lost his eclecticness as he produced and played on recordings for folks like Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and Ike & Tina Turner. If you’ve ever shut down the Dixie Chicken, odds are you’ve heard Leon Russell’s “Goodnight Irene” ushering you out the door.
Of course, there were other legends we said goodbye to in the year of 2016 like David Bowie and Prince, but the lasting legacy of the Merle, Guy, Glenn, Ralph, and Leon are the ones that hit close to home for us. If you’ve never really delved into the catalogues of these artist, there’s no better time than now to do so and pay tribute to these legends.