By Kurt Wolff
In 1982, Merle Haggard earned his 28th No. 1 single with “Going Where the Lonely Go.” He wrote the song with Dean Holloway, a guy Haggard has called his “best friend” who also drove his tour bus for many years. (Holloway, who died in 2009, also has a credit on another Haggard classic, “Big City.”)
Now 32 years later, “Going Where the Lonely Go” is back in the spotlight thanks to Jason Aldean. The Night Train singer cut a new version of the classic weeper as part of the new collection Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard. That album hits stores Tuesday (April 1), and today we have an exclusive stream of “Going Where the Lonely Go” that you can hear in full below.
Aldean covers another Haggard song for the album as well, “Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver),” but it’s “Going Where the Lonely Go” that has resonated with him for years.
“It was always just one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs,” Aldean explained. “My dad was a big Merle Haggard fan, and I just remember him playing this song a lot as a kid. So given a chance to in and be part of [this tribute], I wanted to do a song that meant a little something to me. And this was one that took me back to my days as a kid.”
Aldean may be on the charts and headlining stadiums these days thanks to guitar-heavy anthems like “My Kinda Party” and “Take a Little Ride.” So when he turns around and takes on a song as stripped-down and low-key as “Going Where the Lonely Go,” it’s a great reminder of his inherent vocal abilities — the guy knows his way around a classic country ballad. The arrangement stays true to form as well. Listen below:
The 20-song Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard also includes versions of classic Haggard songs by Joe Nichols, Toby Keith, Randy Houser, Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Garth Brooks and Haggard’s son Ben, among many others (see the full track list).
Five days after the tribute album hits stores, as part of the the Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony on April 6, Haggard will receive the Crystal Milestone Award to commemorate his five decades in country music. Miranda Lambert and George Strait will also perform a tribute to Haggard during the broadcast.
Working Man’s Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard hits iTunes and Walmart on April 1. Watch the ACM Awards live from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6 at 8pm ET/PT on CBS.