Personnel includes: Joe Manuel, Bryan Sutton, Redd Volkaert, Mark Thornton (guitar); Robby Turner (steel guitar); Pat McGrath, Matthew Spicher (rhythm guitar); Charlie Cushman (5-string banjo); Paul Kramer, Brent Truitt (mandolin); Buddy Spicher, Randy Howard (fiddle); Pat Bergeson (harmonica); David Spicher, Dennis Crouch (upright bass); Jim White, Bob Warren (drums).
Pickin' on Merle Haggard puts the hits of the original country outlaw in the hands of a Nashville studio group and delivers a quaint set of background-quality instrumentals. That's basically the premise of the entire Pickin' On series and the end results vary widely in quality. The Merle Haggard edition fairs better than most; the selection is admirable and the renditions are alternately faithful and adventurous when compared to the Okie from Muskogee's original versions. Fans of Haggard will find this interesting and/or amusing, all others should find out why he deserves a tribute in the first place. ~ Wade Kergan