“His last name will always be an adjective”.

Earlier this month, country music legend Merle Haggard passed away at 79, and now Tom Waits has written a moving tribute to him for Rolling Stone. Waits describes Haggard as a major influence and someone who made him feel better about coming from a small town, National City, CA.

“He takes the lives of common ordinary folks who we had all stopped seeing and put them in songs and gave them a voice, and kept them alive,” he writes about Haggard, a quality reflected in Waits’ own character studies that make up many of his best songs.

“Merle’s songs are train-like … lonesome, well made and hard as hell, may they always keep moving,” he writes.

Read the full tribute below and learn more about Waits’ long, brilliant career with our Essential Guide.

1035x1124-MH-poem_B_v8 [via Rolling Stone]

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