Merle Haggard 

Merle Haggard has been playing shows in Kansas City for nearly 50 years. Last summer, Knuckleheads owner Frank Hicks told me a story, in which he mentioned the grizzled country star's early appearances in our town. "You know where the Shady Lady's at? That used to be a pretty good club here in Kansas City. It was called Genova's Chestnut Inn," Hicks said, whose childhood home wasn't far from there — he walked to the club with his sister. "She was 18," Hicks said. "And they let her in 'cause she's cute. But they said, 'Hey, kid, you gotta stay outside.'" Haggard's dusty boots might have stomped across the club's stage while Hicks was sitting outside on the pavement. (Photos of the artists who played there are now at Harry's Country Club in the River Market.) These days, though, Haggard is playing bigger venues than a bar on 12th Street and Prospect. He and Kris Kristofferson are teaming up for a co-headlining concert in downtown Kansas City. Expect a hefty slathering of Bakersfield twang from the two country-music legends.

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