Ray McDonald and Merle Haggard
Photo: Raymond McDonald archive

A lifetime of music and friendship, as remembered by Haggard’s bus-driver, assistant and lifelong friend, Raymond H. McDonald

Press Release Provided by Raymond McDonald

In February 2021, Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine was released on bookbaby.com. The book contains 52 original stories surrounding country music legend Merle Haggard, as remembered by his friend of more than 50 years, Raymond H. McDonald. 

Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine gives a fresh perspective on Haggard’s philosophy on people, life and music, and helps readers better understand his impact on other musicians and music fans around the world.

“Music can bring people together and help heal wounds,” McDonald writes. “It is a therapy for the soul and a language with the potential to connect people who may not even understand its meaning. Music is a lot like love. The world might do well to make more music.”

With more than 100 never-before-released photos, McDonald brings readers on a journey behind the scenes, with true, personal, uncommon stories about “The Poet of the Common Man.”

“Ray McDonald witnessed, and often participated in, hundreds of telling moments in The Hag’s life. That McDonald was able to boil them down to these few dozen is an achievement in and of itself. ‘Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine” is a must-read for every fan of Haggard’s, every country-music historian, every person who simply enjoys a good, entertaining read.”

-Robert E. Price, author of The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music

The pages of “Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine” detail myriad run-ins and interactions with other acclaimed musicians, such as Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Gene Autry, and, of course, Willie Nelson.

“McDonald has insight into this and other Haggard-related topics that few other people have because he was blessed with a backstage pass to Haggard’s life.”

-Jimmie Tramel, Scene Writer at Tulsa World

Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine was released on bookbaby.com and can be purchased at http://store.bookbaby.com/book/merle-haggard-

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