Max T. Barnes and Marty Haggard, both accomplished singer/songwriters in their own right, have released a music video tribute to their legendary fathers, Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Max D. Barnes. The sons have continued the friendship their fathers started and recorded the co-penned Merle/Max D. tune “Way Back In The Mountains”. The song can be found on Max T. Barnes’ latest album I Can Sleep When I’m Dead on iTunes or MaxTBarnes.com.
The father duo wrote the song in the ‘90s among others such as the Haggard hit “In My Next Life” and various album cuts. The fathers and sons have been close friends for years, sharing many songwriting credits together. Max D. and Merle spoke most nights on the phone and the two were known to hang around the Haggard ranch writing songs, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. The pair even formed a publishing company together; Jack Hurst chronicled their story in The Chicago Tribune.
Max D. Barnes penned hit’s include CMA Songs of the Year “Chiseled In Stone” (Vern Gosdin) and “Look At Us” (Vince Gill) as well as “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” (George Jones), “I Won’t Need You Anymore” (Randy Travis) and many more. He had over 40 songwriting awards including CMA Song of the Year and BMI awards. Barnes passed away as one of the most successful country songwriters of all time in 2004. Merle Haggard’s hits include “Okie From Muskogee,” “Mama Tried,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” and countless others. He had 38 Number One hits and received major awards from CMAs to Grammys and a Kennedy Center Honors. Haggard, one of the most iconic country artists of all time, passed away in 2016 at the age of 79.