Johnny Rodriguez Returns at CMA Music Fest

Announcing that Merle Haggard has agreed to produce his new album, Johnny Rodriguez made a triumphant, if somewhat belated, return to Nashville and the CMA Music Festival during a free concert Saturday (June 9) in front of the Sommet Center. The singer’s brief set was part of a showcase of Hispanic country acts that included Bobby Marquez, Melanie Torres and John Arthur Martinez. Rodriguez had canceled a highly-promoted concert with Rick Trevino and Riders in the Sky that took place Wednesday (June 6) in Nashville. Rodriguez, 55, was in strong voice when he performed several of his Top 10 hits from the ’70s, including “”Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passing Through),” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “Riding My Thumb to Mexico” and “Desperado.” In 1999, he was acquitted of murder charges in the shooting death of a 26-year-old neighbor who had gained entry into his home in Sabinal, Texas.