A full house experienced a magical “Sing Me Back Home” tribute to Merle Haggard at Saturday’s closing performance of the Humboldt Folklife Festival in the Dell’Arte Amphitheatre in Blue Lake. The “Merle choir,” which performed the tribute, was put together with members of different local bands who shared a common bond in that they all knew and loved to sing Merle Haggard songs.
“The day Merle died, Ken Jorgenson (of The Mighty Rovers) called me up, knowing I was a big Merle fan, and suggested the idea of doing a tribute show at the Folklife Festival,” said Steve Irwin of the Delta Nationals and The Yokels. “I was thrilled with the idea and got to thinking that I knew lots of local musicians who were fans of Merle. Then it snowballed into kind of a ‘Merle choir.’”
The musicians on Saturday included, among others, Steve Irwin, Ken and Maria Jorgenson, Paul DeMark, Dave Ryan, Hal Krohn, Jake Wiegandt, Doug and Libbey Eastteam, Rick Levin, Bruce Johnson, Fred Neighbor, Joyce Hough, Gary Davidson and Marc Jeffares.