Merle Haggard's final recording 'Kern River Blues' has arrived

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Merle Haggard's Last Song 'Kern River Blues' Will Release Tommorrow


Merle Haggard's final song, "Kern River Blues," dropped today (May 12).

The recording premiered on Willie Nelson's SiriusXM's Willie's Roadhouse channel, before being made available to download on merlehaggard.com and iTunes.

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Penned by Haggard and featuring his son Ben on electric guitar, "Kern River Blues" is about the country great's memories of leaving Bakersfield in the late '70s, according to a message posted to his official Website. The track was recorded Feb. 9 at the singer's Hag Studios as he was battling with the pneumonia that would ultimately take his life. Its lyrics carry extra weight in light of his passing. Haggard died April 6 at the age of 79.

"Well, I'm leaving town forever/Kiss an old boxcar goodbye/Well, I'm leaving town forever/Kiss an old boxcar goodbye/I dug my blues down in the river/But the old Kern River is dry," he sings in its final verse.

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The Haggard family decided to release "Kern River Blues" as a way of "thanking everyone" for their "tremendous outpouring of love and prayers" for the artist. They've decided to donate 10% of all gross proceeds from its sale to homeless charities.

Listen to "Kern River Blues" here.

See photos of Merle Haggard through the years:
31 PHOTOS
Merle Haggard through the years
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Merle Haggard's final recording 'Kern River Blues' has arrived
FORT WORTH, TX - JULY 3: Merle Haggard performs a 4th of July concert at Billy Bob's, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Mike Brooks/DAL/Voice Media Group via Getty Images)
CIRCA 1964: Country musician Merle Haggard poses for a mid 1960's portrait. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA LATE 1960s: Country musician Merle Haggard poses for a late 1960's portrait. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American country music performer Merle Haggard smiles as he plays an acoustic guitar, 1970. (Photo by Lynn Pelham/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Merle Haggard Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Merle Haggard Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW - Airdate: December 2, 1970. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) MERLE HAGGARD
NEW YORK: Merle Haggard performs live on stage in New York in 1978 (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
Merle Haggard performs at Countryside Opry, Chicago, Illinois, October 31, 1980. (Photo by Kirk West/Getty Images)
Singer and musician Merle Haggard performs, Fresno, California, April 19, 1986. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 01: Merle Haggard performs on stage at the Country Music Festival held at Wembley Arena, London in April 1988. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 28: Merle Haggard attends 18th Annual American Music Awards on January 28, 1991 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Meryl Haggard during Merle Haggard in Concert at Tramps - June 23, 1993 at Tramps in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage)
Merle Haggard performs at Tramps, New York, June 23, 1993. (Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images)
Merle Haggard on 10/27/96 in Chicago,Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
Merle Haggard on 10/27/96 in Chicago,Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)
Country music singer Merle Haggard came to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History today to donate (with his sister Lillian Hoge) personal family items from the dust-bowl era. (Photo by Michael Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - 2004: Merle Haggard performs at the Ryman Auditorium in 2004 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith during Willie Nelson and Friends: 'Outlaws & Angels' - Show and Backstage at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage for NBC Universal Photo Department)
John Anderson and Merle Haggard during 54th Annual BMI Country Awards - Arrivals at BMI Offices in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage for BMI Nashville)
MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 14: Musician Merle Haggard performs during the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 14, 2009 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)
Merle Haggard arrives at the 2nd Annual ACM Honors at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on September 22, 2009 in Nashville Tennessee.
Portrait of musician Merle Haggard, Napa, California, 2010. (Photo by Chris Felver/Getty Images)
Merle Haggard poses for a portrait November 6, 2010, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Photo by Dave Einsel For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Merle Haggard poses for a photo during the 33rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center Hall of States on December 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 3985 -- Pictured: Musical guest Merle Haggard on February 8, 2011 (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 21: Merle Haggard performs one of his many top-selling country songs at Route 66 Casinoâs Legends Theater on October 21, 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Steve Snowden/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 10: Merle Haggard performs at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on August 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Singer Merle Haggard attends the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 11: Singer-songwriter Merle Haggard performs in concert at ACL Live on November 11, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
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