Up for Grabs: Three Copies of Bakersfield, the New Project from Vince Gill and Paul Franklin

Bakersfield_CoverFans of classic country in the Bakersfield vein will be heartened by the July 30 release of Vince Gill and steel guitarist Paul Franklin’s aptly-titled tribute album, Bakersfield. In anticipation of next Tuesday, our friends at MCA Nashville and EMG have provided us with copies of the album for THREE lucky readers.

Before we get to the contest, though, let’s talk a little about the project.

Split evenly between covers of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens (find the full track list below), this was quite obviously a labor of love. Tracked at Gill’s home studio, the recording was co-produced by Gill and Franklin and features an all-star cast of musical friends like John Hobbs (piano), Greg Morrow (drums), Willie Weeks and Brad Albin (bass), J.T. Corenflos (electric rhythm guitar), and Time Jumpers Kenny Sears, Larry Franklin, Joe Spivey, and Dawn Sears. Gill played all acoustic and electric guitar fills and solos himself. Naturally, the sweet, sweet steel guitar of Paul Franklin is all over the place, too.

A few quotes on the project from folks who oughta know:

“This is just as much a guitar record for me as it is a singing record. But it was fun for me to sing a whole record of the greatest songs ever. I guess what I’m real proud of is that when it’s one of Buck’s songs, I sing it very much in that vein. And the Haggard songs are very much in the vein he sang. With Buck’s songs, you won’t find much vibrato in my vocals, and with Merle’s, it will come down to a low note and that quiver.”

—Vince Gill

“This may be Vince’s greatest project. What a showcase! I’ve heard him sing for 30 years, but he sings licks on this record I never heard before.”

—Paul Franklin

“I can only give the entire project a big ole double, thumbs up! Well done guys, the West Coast takes a bow.”

—Merle Haggard

Bakersfield track list

1. “Foolin’ Around” – Buck Owens (Written by Harlan Howard and Buck Owens)
2. “Branded Man” – Merle Haggard (Written by Merle Haggard)
3. “Together Again” – Buck Owens (Written by Buck Owens)
4. “The Bottle Let Me Down” – Merle Haggard (Written by Merle Haggard)
5. “He Don’t Deserve You Anymore” – Buck Owens (Written by Arty Lange and Buck Owens)
6. “I Can’t Be Myself” – Merle Haggard (Written by Merle Haggard)
7. “Nobody’s Fool But Yours” – Buck Owens (Written by Buck Owens)
8. “Holding Things Together” – Merle Haggard (Written by Bob Trotten and Merle Haggard)
9. “But I Do” – Buck Owens (Written by Tommy Collins)
10. “The Fightin’ Side Of Me” – Merle Haggard (Written by Merle Haggard)


Appetite sufficiently whetted? Great. To enter, simply comment on this post with your favorite Merle Haggard or Buck Owens song(s) by next Thursday, August 1. Winners will be randomly chosen and contacted shortly thereafter. Speaking of which, be sure to use a valid email address when you comment so that we can actually get in touch with you to give you stuff. Sort of important.

Easy enough? Let’s talk Buck and Merle.

(If you just can’t wait, you can also preorder Bakersfield at Amazon right this second.)

New posts, by email, whenever we’ve got ’em.


  1. Matt M. says

    My favorite Merle Haggard song is probably “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” and my favorite Buck Owens song is “Made In Japan.”

  2. Karen says

    thank you for the (s), because I couldn’t pick just one. . . Narrowing it down, I will list “The Fugitive”, “That’s the Way Love Goes”, and “Kern River” for Merle; “Together Again”, “A-11″ and “Close Up the Honky-Tonks” for Buck – just for starters.

  3. says

    It’s pretty much impossible to pick a favorite song by either one of those guys, simply because they both have such a ridiculously huge catalog of superb material. But… I wanna win a CD! So, at this very second, “Footlights” could be my favorite Hag song, and I’ll go with “Together Again” for Buck.

  4. Rob Atcher says

    My sister and I went to see the Time Jumpers during my recent visit to Nashville. When Vince kicked off Together Again, I was absolutely thrilled to hear what Vince was going to do with that song. But what REALLY knocked me out was Paul Franklin’s playing. This was no repeat of Tom Brumley’s licks – he completely reinvented the pedal steel parts of that song and just killed me. Tasteful, inventive and everything fit like it was part of the original recording. I can’t wait to hear what they did with the rest of the songs on this album. It’s so terrific that seminal parts of country music outside of Nashville are being recognized and honored so that there role in the genre continues to be at the forefront of country music.

  5. Jeff Marcum says

    This sounds like it will be a great album. Some great song selections. You can’t go wrong with Merle and Buck. I like lots of songs from both but I guess my favorite Merle song is Chill Factor and for Buck my favorite is Big in Vegas

  6. says

    My favorite Buck Owens song is probably “Waitin’ in your Welfare Line.” Merle is much harder for me to narrow down, since I’m more familiar with his music (thanks to significant help from Paul W. Dennis a few years ago!).

  7. says

    Favorite Buck Owens song is probably “My Heart Skips a Beat.”

    Favorite Merle Haggard song either “Mama Tried” or “Bottle Let Me Down.”

  8. John Lewis says

    Merle :”Misery and Gin”

    Buck: “Loves Gonna Live Here”

    It’s does my heart and soul good knowing that quality country music is still being produced and promoted. Thank you for offering these cds.

  9. John says

    Merle: “Misery and Gin”

    Buck: “Loves Gonna Live Here”

    It does my heart and soul good knowing quality country music is still being produced and promoted!
    Thanks for the opportunity to add this to the collection!

  10. Mike K says

    I become paralyzed trying to pick favorites like this, but as I sit here this minute, I would say “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” for Buck and “My Favorite Memory” for Merle, although I almost went with “I Can’t Hold Myself in Line.”

    I am sure that the album is going to be amazing.

  11. Seth Isley says

    I’m extremely excited about this album. Vince Gill is one of my favorite male vocalists that is going today. There are so many great choices here for my favorite song, but I would have to go with Cryin’ Time by Buck Owens.

  12. says

    I’ve been obsessed with “I Can’t Be Myself” since LeAnn Rimes put it on her covers album two years ago. Such a great song I didn’t know.

    “Mama Tried” is another favorite – how do you not love the iconic opening guitar riffs? So good.

  13. KathyP says

    Favorite Owens and Haggard songs. Tough choices
    Buck Owens:
    Streets of Bakersfield, Act Naturally, Close up the Honky Tonk

    Merle Haggard:
    Workin Man Blues

    I’ve heard good things about this new album. Here’s hoping.

  14. says

    My favorite Buck song is “Big In Vegas.” It’s a little different than the stuff he usually excelled at. For Merle it changes a lot because I like a lot of his stuff so much, but I continually go back to “Silver Wings.”

  15. Ryan says

    My favorite Merle song is Silver Wings. Streets of Bakersfield would be my favorite Buck song. Hope I get a copy of the CD!

  16. frank nash says

    My fave Buck owns song is “Made in Japan” & my fave Merle song is “No one to sing for but the band”

  17. A.B. says

    My favorite Buck Owens songs are Made in Japan & Close Up The Honky Tonks, My favorite Merle Haggard song is Today I Started Loving You Again.

  18. DLP says

    Working Man Blues – Merle Haggard. Just saw Merle perform last Friday at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. classic!

  19. LongLiveTraditionalCountry says

    i love e’m all there ain’t a buck or merle song that i dont like they never put out a bad song and i cant wait for this album cause it will be good

    but if i had to pick a favorite i would pick

    Merle’s Fightin Side & Buck’s Tiger by the tail

  20. Dallas T. says

    My all-time favorite Merle Haggard song is “Women Make A Fool Out Of Me” because it’s totally true. I’m not as familiar with Buck Owens, but I’m a huge Vince Gill fan, and I know that this album will enlighten me to Owens’ work. Also, I love me some pedal steel. All night.

  21. Carl Eddy says

    How to choose only one? If I must…

    Buck – Roll Out the Red Carpet

    Merle – If We Make It Through December

    But also…

    Buck – Sam’s Place, My Heart Skips a Beat, Don’t Let Her Know

    Merle – Emptiest Arms in the World, Honky Tonk Night Time Man

  22. Paul W Dennis says

    Favorite Haggard song ? Probably “I Can’t Be Myself” , followed by “Sing Me Back Home” .

    Favorite Buck Owens song ? “Alabama , Louisiana or Maybe Tennessee”

    The truth is there are hardly any Buck Owens or Merle Haggard recordings I don’t like

    It doesn’t seem right to title an album BAKERSFIELD and not include something by Wynn Stewart

  23. Seth Isley says

    If you are a SiriusXM subscriber, the Willie’s Roadhouse channeling is playing an interview with Vince Gill and Paul Franklin. During the interview, they will play all of the songs from the album. It plays tonight at 7 P.M eastern, tomorrow at 10 A.M. eastern, and tomorrow at 7 P.M eastern.

  24. Lisa says

    Fav Hag song is “That’s The Way Love Goes” and Buck… I guess “Close Up The Honky Tonks”! There are WAY too many more that I could add, but these are the absolute Faves!

  25. Jordan Stacey says

    Merle: “If We Make It Through December”
    Buck: “Act Naturally”

    These two are my favirotes sbecause my grandfather would cover these a lot when he used to be in a band, and while I never got to see them live, there’s a few recordings they did where he was singing these two.

  26. Jeremy Harris says

    Favorite Merle song is Mama Tried and favorite Buck song would be hard to pick since they’re all great but I’ll go with My Heart Skips A Beat.


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