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10:08 PM Thu, Nov. 15th

Merle Haggard tribute at Elks Theatre Aug. 12

Tim Gallagher as Merle Haggard

Tim Gallagher as Merle Haggard

Essentials

Where: Elks Theater and Performing Arts Center, 117 E Gurley St.

When: Friday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m.

Tickets: From $22 to $30 each

Call: 928-777-1370

Online: PrescottElksTheater.com

Tim Gallagher, as Merle Haggard, performs at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, in an event called “Sing Me Back Home: The Legend of Merle Haggard.”

This is a celebration of the singer/songwriter’s 52-year career and has Gallagher weaving stories of Haggard’s life among dozens of hit songs such as “Okie from Muskogee,” “Workin’ Man Blues” and “The Running Kind.”

“The first time I heard the music of Merle I was 8 years old. We had just moved to a rural area south of Payson,” Gallagher, 54, said. “I had a one-hour ride to school in the morning, and the same ride home for an hour. The bus driver used to play an AM station over the speaker, KNIX from Phoenix. That’s the station I heard all those guys on, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Pride.”

Prior to his introduction to country western music, the Tucson-based musician listened to what his parents played on the record player: children’s songs, classical music, hits of 1960s. It sure wasn’t country, he said.

“I’ve been hearing Merle’s music for 45 years. His singing has always affected me. I have sort of a baritone vocal register similar to his that allows me to do most of the songs in the same key. My voice is a little lower, I’m a little taller,” he said with a laugh.

Gallagher’s taste in music gravitates to what he calls “mid-century music,” or 1960s honky-tonk. He thinks of Haggard as someone “second – or maybe not even second – to someone like Willie Nelson. Not only did he sing the hits, he wrote them.”

“Sing Me Back Home” is a Lonely Street Production (LSP) show. Gallagher said the organization doesn’t produce impersonation shows, they are more like tributes or shows in the style of famous performers. He has played with LSP for about two and a half years and plays with the band on other country shows like the Outlaws, Country Christmas, and Honky-Tonk Sweethearts.

“The Elks Theatre is one of my favorite theaters in all of Arizona. It’s really beautiful. I’m looking forward to getting back in there,” he said.

Tickets are available by calling 928-777-1370 or purchasing online at www.prescottelkstheater.com.