My recent obsession with Merle Haggard inspired a friend to buy the 4 CD Box set. This friend was kind enough to pass along this little quote from Merle:
"Probably the happiest moments of my life have been on stage, playing music. I can be living a life with all kinds of problems, but when I step on stage, everything is left behind. The stage is kind of a refuge for me, and it always has been. Over the years, I've climbed inside my music when things went wrong. I still do that. My music is where I really live."
Beautifully put, Merle. And yeah, I second that notion.
I can remember a time around two years ago when I was in the midst of every kind of pain. My body hurt and my emotions were raw and my will was slipping and I seriously did not know how I was going to find my way out of it. I had a gig that evening and I spent many hours that day crying, the kind of sobs that just take over your body. And it seemed the longer I cried, the more tears I found I needed to shed. I was utterly inconsolable. And the hours passed and my eyes grew more swollen and I felt like there was no fucking way I was going to be able to make it to this gig, to get on stage and act like a normal person.
But somehow, I managed to put ice packs on my eyes to get the swelling to go down, and with a little help from my friends, I was able to drag myself to the show. Cause the show must go on, after all!
And once I got there, I swear that I went from sitting at a table feeling wrecked with pain, to on stage singing and completely transformed. For that 40 minutes that I was up there singing, every bit of pain left me. It's like I became someone completely different than the person I had spent the whole day being. Very cool, and something that I've noticed happens to me almost every time I am on stage. Climbing inside the music, indeed. That Merle knows a thing or two about living.