Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard start tour

March 7, 2005 at 11:56 AM

DETROIT, March 7 (UPI) -- Country music veteran Merle Haggard says he had planned a "real soft spring" until Bob Dylan called and asked him to be his tour opener.

The two music legends embarked Monday on a 38-date concert tour.

"It's a real honor," said Haggard, who's only met Dylan occasionally throughout their respective careers. "I probably wouldn't have done it with anybody else. I think our connection is real clear; Jimmy Rogers and Woody Guthrie influenced both of us. I just took it in one direction, he took it in another. Now here we've come, full circle."

The Dylan-Haggard tour lasts through the end of April, with five shows at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Haggard is still promoting his 2004 standards album, "Unforgettable." He'll be releasing an album of original material later this year, which will include a duet with country star Toby Keith.

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