For over half a century Merle Haggard has been a champion of the misunderstood, the outcasts, and yes, even the outlaws. Forging a new path because the one Nashville had charted was too polished and removed from real life for his liking, Haggard and his Bakersfield brethren (including Buck Owens) were the forefathers of the alt country movement that took root in the '90s. In fact, fans inclined to buy tickets to Wilco or Ryan Adams would find themselves right at home alongside fans of more traditional country at a Merle Haggard concert, connecting with the man who once described himself as an "Okie from Muskogee" - an uncompromising truth teller who never turned his mind or heart away from the working class. While the last of the Country Music Hall of Famer's staggering 37 No. 1 hits may have been in 1986, his recent albums prove that while time marches on his talent and vision remain steadfast. As he's shown on tour as well as in 2010's aptly titled album I Am What I Am, Haggard is as sharp a social critic as ever. Meanwhile his 2012 album Working In Tennessee proved that despite the title, his heart is still firmly in Bakersfield - and fans are all the better for it.