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Mark your calendar: Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard will sing in the Johnny Mercer Theatre Jan. 29

Can we just go ahead and call Merle Haggard The Coolest Guy in Country Music?

"Workin' Man Blues," "Mama Tried," "Mama's Hungry Eyes," "If We Make it Through December," "Big City," "Kern River," "Silver Wings," "The Fugitive," "Are the Good Times Really Over," "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am," "Today I Started Loving You Again."

He wrote ‘em all, he sang ‘em all, he is - in this writer's opinion - country's greatest living songwriter, and one of the best singers ever to come out of Bakerfield, California. He had 38 No. 1 hits.

Hag is 73 now, but he's still uncompromising, still peerless. And he's coming to Savannah.

That's right, Merle Haggard and the Strangers will play the Johnny Mercer Theatre Jan. 29. Keep it here for ticket information.

‘You'll shoot yer eye out'

If you don't get enough of the classic 1983 film A Christmas Story on TBS, where it's aired back-to-back-to-back over the holidays, the Odd Lot improve comedy troupe has got something special for your stocking.

JinHi Soucy Rand is directing a stage-play version of A Christmas Story Dec. 2-11 at Muse Arts Warehouse.

Adapted by Philip Grecian from the film script, which was itself adapted from the memoirs of humorist Jean Shepherd, it's the 1950s tale of little Ralphie Parker and his Yuletide wish for a Red Ryder BB gun.

Of course, you knew that already.

Shows are Dec. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 4 and 11 at 3 p.m. General admission $10, and free for active duty military families (reservation required). Call (912) 713-1137.

News et cetera

@ It's always great when Mose Allison mosies our way. The great singer/songwriter and piano master, who headlined the Savannah Jazz Festival in 2009, has a couple of dates at the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head. Catch Mr. "Parchman Farm" at the club Dec. 3 and 4; see