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Producer, director and actor Peter Billingsley puts the nearly 40 years of boozing, brawling and broken spirits of outlaw country legend Merle Haggard’s career-spanning retrospective collection Down Every Road into perspective for the modern era.
Much like with the story of America, a look back on the life of outlaw country legend Merle Haggard reveals as much pain and hardship as it does hope and inspiration. But without the harsh realities of growing up poor and spending time in prison to shape him, the world might find itself sorely lacking the hard-bitten truths and forlorn beauty of that classic Bakersfield Sound he spent nearly forty years shaping with his music, to which the 1994 release of roughly 100 songs from every period of his career Down Every Road is an eternal testament. The same might be said of one of Merle’s biggest fans: director, producer and actor Peter Billingsley, whose humble beginnings in yogurt commercials and after school specials led him to not only star in one of the most beloved holiday films of all time, A Christmas Story, but also help bring to life hit movies and televisions series such as The Break Up, Sullivan & Son, and F is for Family.
01:00 – Intro
12:15 – Old country is real country
15:30 – The shared purity of punk, rap and country
19:15 – Can over 100 songs be considered one album?
26:00 – Drowning your sorrows in Jack Daniels & OJ
35:30 – Funny is funny
43:15 – The hard road of a being a child actor
52:30 – You’re never really know the sacrifices your parents make
01:00:45 – The ones who go away
01:10:00 – Going from in front of the camera to behind
01:17:15 – Proud to be square
01:22:45 – Knowing what you want in life
01:28:15 – When peace is no longer an option
01:31:15 – Nothing trumps authenticity
01:37:15 – Los Angeles: the dream vs. the reality
01:43:15 – You haven’t really lived until you’ve had to run from the cops
01:46:00 – These things Peter holds to be true
01:50:00 – Breaking up is like buying plane ticket
01:56:45 – The bygone coolness of Hollywood’s past
02:01:00 – What it’s like being a holiday icon
02:06:45 – Facts!
02:08:15 – The cruelty of critics
02:10:45 – The dumbest way to spend money
02:12:00 – The awards you almost win can sometimes be the best
02:15:30 – Outro
02:17:45 – New Music
New Artist / Song influenced by Merle Haggard:
The 500 is a production of Native Creative Podcasts.