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STARKVILLE, Miss.–Singer, songwriter, musician, guitarist, country music legend–some of the words that describe Merle Haggard.

An Oildale, California, native who helped create the Bakersfield sound in the Sixties, Haggard inaugurates Mississippi State’s 2014-15 Lyceum Series with a Wednesday [Aug. 20] concert in the Bettersworth Auditorium of the university’s historic Lee Hall.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.lyceum.msstate.edu.

Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, Haggard has credited much of his inspiration to Bob Wills, the late Texas swing musician and bandleader. His own distinctive style, however, has been described as a melting pot drawn from country, jazz, blues and folk.

Haggard’s hometown is a suburb of Bakersfield, and that sound genre has been described as a Fender Telecaster guitar’s unique twang mixed with traditional country steel guitar to accompany rough-edge vocal harmonies featuring minimal words.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, he released a string of hits that included “Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” “Branded Man,” “Sing Me Back Home,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Mama Tried,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Silver Wings,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “The Fighting Side of Me,” “If We Make It Through December,” and “Okie from Muskogee.”

A new album, “I Am Who I Am,” was released in 2010 to strong reviews. For more, see www.merlehaggard.com.

For other information on this and other 2014-15 Lyceum Series events, visit the above-listed website or telephone the Center for Student Activities at 662-325-2930.

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