"Merle Haggard started running before he was 10, around when his father died, and basically didn’t stop till he left his mortal coil, age 79. He spent, give or take, close to 70 years in various stages of lighting out of town, of barnstorming, of riding the rails, of killing them and leaving. You know that 10,000 hours thing? Merle put in more than his 10,000 hours on the run. As such, with the exception of Jack Kerouac, Merle Haggard was the poet laureate of the road, that symbol of endless possibility, endless adventure, and endless strife. Merle’s songbook is a testament to that running, the feeling like you just escaped some trap, the feeling that you don’t know what’s next, but you know goddamn well it’s not behind you. He’d later become famous as a voice of the so-called Silent Majority, yet another thing he felt shackled by (more on this later), but Merle Haggard’s lasting impact on country music cannot be overstated: Merle captured and defined, better than anyone before or since, that attitude of escape in country music. The music was always going somewhere, and Merle was able to mine that voyage over the course of a nearly 50-year career. Haggard’s—and his band, The Strangers’—breakthrough LP, and his fourth overall, 'I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,' lays all these themes out bare, giving him not only a career, but something to run towards and for. "