Merle Haggard Got His Chops In Bakersfield
Merle Haggard started singing and playing country music about the age of 16 in the Bakersfield CA bars and honky tonks. He claims one of his first paying gigs was for beer. He’s 75 now and still tours. Recently he went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s new exhibit the Bakersfield Sound. Haggard said the difference between the Nashville sound of the 50’s & 60’s was barrooms. Nashville was about church music and the grand Ole Opry, but Bakersfield was about beer joints with bands.
Another great in country music, Buck Owens, was also heavily involved in the music scene in Bakersfield. He had several clubs in the area he played at regularly and was somewhat established when Merle came along.
Bakersfield today is still a hotbed of music
If any artists today come close to that sound they would be Dwight Yoakam ("Dwight Sings Buck" or "Guitars,Cadillacs")
and Alan Jackson.