Waiting For A Train with Merle is a mainline track about the rails I rode with my friend the Legend Merle Haggard, and about he and I digging up stories to connect the dots on the history of Country Music, from Jimmie Rodgers, Earnest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, Bob Wills, Willie Nelson to Merle and those that he influenced with his own music saga like Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, Kacey Musgraves,  and so many others.

This Memoir of Me and Merle actually began in 1997, when I told Willie Nelson I was working on a documentary on Jimmie Rodgers.  Willie leaned over and looked right into my eyes and said, "If you want to know something about Jimmie Rodgers you need to talk to Merle Haggard"...thus the Saga of Waiting For a Train with Merle Haggard began there on Willie's bus two decades ago... Right here you can ride the main tracks and side tracks that the Hag and I rode from 2004 to 2016, and now beyond...

This website is the beginning My Memoir ME & MERLE with this website and a memoir that I am deep into titled WAITING FOR A TRAIN WITH MERLE HAGGARD & JIMMIE RODGERS, a special book-song release, and an Online Digital Media eBook, written book and picture eBook with hundreds of pictures that I took of the Hag.  Appearing throughout will be the likes of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Les Paul, Bob Dylan, Buck Page, Ramblin Jack Elliott, and many more... jump on a Train Ride through Music History that started with Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell to Willie and Merle's Django and Jimmie album and tour...Stories of the Bob Dylan Merle Haggard 39 show tour across the country to quite times with Haggard on his Ranch and many hours on his bus talking music history, working on 3 movies we wanted to do, and a music museum in Oklahoma.

Want to invite you to visit



Picture by Chris Felver

If  "Every picture tells a story, don't it" and/or if "A picture is a thousand words" I have have a huge tale to tell about a decade running down many highways with The Hag, aka Merle Haggard... My book, the movie and the song will be about me and Merle connecting history's dots to tell a story that goes from Jimmie Rodgers and the blues of the south to Lefty Frizzell and Bob Wills passed on to Merle and future generations now forever...

​​Photo credits to long time photographer & pal  RichardBastian.com

My Virtual Memoir & Tribute to

Merle Haggard & Jimmie Rodgers

Both Rodgers' and Haggard's dads worked for the Railroad, and I was a brakeman and switchman for the Santa Fe Railroad during High School and College and still get Railroad pension... 


Past year plus I've been working most of the days and nights in the assembly of all my notes, pictures, journals, calendars, more notes, research, digital footage of the miles that I traveled, phone notes, emails, memorabilia that I saved from the shows, tape recordings, and just finding things in my memory from now back through the dust I have kicked up and gathered over the past few decades tracking Jimmie Rodgers... all leading me to knowing Merle Haggard.

Many times I would be setting with Merle, we would be talking about something and I would blink my eyes and all of a sudden I had feelings of being STAR STRUCK...OR, STRUCK BY A STAR with the realization.  My God, this is fucking Merle Haggard setting here in this private jet, or on this bus, or standing somewhere with another icon, or in his Hummer riding on his ranch or to the store in Redding, or to LuLu's for lunch.  Then I would blink again and we would go on talking...

We talked a lot together.  I remember that for sure.  In an interview on camera with interviewer Chuck Banner Merle said about me:   

Chuck: Merle, when did you meet ole Benford?

Merle: “I have been knowing him about 10 to 12 years. When I ran into Benford, I realized that he was in a search for all the information he could find. Seems like every time we get together we end up in the same area, something about country music history. He is a history buff and I guess I am too...I enjoy digging out the truth of what really occurred. Benfordisoneofthose kind of people also.