Forthright portrait of the country star who penned the ageless anti-hippie anthem ‘Okie from Muskogee’. With Keith Richards, Dave Alvin, John Carter Cash, Robert Duvall, John Fogerty, George Jones and Merle's wives, past and present.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Forever pegged either side of the red/blue divide as the man who penned the ageless anti-hippie anthem ‘Okie from Muskogee’, country and western legend Merle Haggard has set many a home truth to music. Turning to crime after the early death of his father, Haggard says seeing Johnny Cash perform in San Quentin prison was the epiphany that changed his life. He is a fascinating and forthright subject in this American Masters portrait, filmed over three years by German Nashville historian/fan Gandulf Hennig, who attended the Festival with his Gram Parsons doco in 2005. — BG
“Hennig’s documentary rings as strong and true as Merle’s own songs. That’s high praise… Learning to Live with Myself talks to just about everyone in the music and Merle’s worlds, from Keith Richards and John Fogerty to Marty Stuart, George Jones and all of Merle’s wives, past and present. At the center, it finds a restless man, still seemingly not quite at home anywhere, musing how ‘I won’t be satisfied until I write that one song that will live forever’.” — David Hinckley, NY Daily News