One of country's true legends, Merle Haggard has few equals as a singer and songwriter of gritty, no-nonsense roots music. A Christmas album from such a figure seems anomalous: the Hag doing "Jingle Bells?" Surprisingly, HAG'S CHRISTMAS works well, thanks largely to the down home arrangements and Hag's immortal croon.
Sprinkled in among the traditional tunes "Silver Bells" and "White Christmas" are songs that have a genuine country current, namely the tear-jerking "Daddy Won't Be Home Again for Christmas" and "If We Make It Through December." But even the chestnut "Silent Night" is transformed under Hag's wise, world-weary touch, making HAG'S CHRISTMAS a worthwhile change of pace for fans of country and holiday music.