OFFSTAGE: Blake Shelton Forgiven by Merle Haggard

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

This is so nice of Merle Haggard . He has publicly forgiven Blake Shelton for some uncharacteristically disparaging remarks about the older generation of country stars. Those comments were uncharacteristic because Shelton has always been one of the new artists who seems to genuinely revere the ones who came before him. Anyway, Shelton had said some things about old farts and jackasses in Nashville, and it angered a few folks. Ray Price was mad. Dale Watson was so mad, he made a music video. And I’m sure Haggard was probably mad, too. But on Tuesday (March 5), the Hag tweeted that he was over it. “On behalf of all the old farts, we forgive you Blake! But you should do a tribute album! Don’t ya think?” Shelton had taken to Twitter to apologize and say that what he really meant was that he and his country brethren have to keep reinventing country music. “Country music is my life and its future AND past is important to me,” he’d said. “I’ll put my love and respect and knowledge about it up against anybody out there … ANYBODY.” So now Shelton has the legendary Haggard asking him to do a tribute album, which is an excellent idea. And maybe Hag could come and sing on a couple of songs, like he did for other new stars Gretchen Wilson (“Politically Uncorrect”) and Eric Church (“Pledge Allegiance to the Hag”), both in 2006.