In Fargo for a concert Sunday, Haggard told Inforum, "I can't tell what they're doing," says The Hag. "They're talking about screwing on a pickup tailgate and things of that nature. I don't find no substance. I don't find anything you can whistle and nobody even attempts to write a melody. It's more of that kids stuff. It's hot right now, but I'll tell you what, it's cooling off."
If anyone can credibly comment on authenticity in country music, it's Haggard. Born in a boxcar that was his parents' home, he's lived the life others can only try to sing about. His early run-ins with the law ended up with Haggard serving time in jail and inspiring the 1968 country classic "Mama Tried."
After seeing Johnny Cash perform in San Quentin prison, Haggard was more resolved to go straight and make a life in music after being paroled in early 1960. He started working regular jobs and playing around, getting a reputation as a front man. In 1964, he released his first top 10 hit, "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers," and Sunday also marked the 50th anniversary of his first album, "Strangers," hitting stores.
Since then, he's scored 38 No. 1 songs, been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and received the Kennedy Center Honors at the White House in 2010.