Bob Dylan hadn’t intended to criticize Merle Haggard. In a new interview, he clarified the comments he made about the country legend, adding that he has “the highest regard for him, his songs, his talent.”

In a conversation with veteran rock journalist Bill Flanagan on Dylan’s website, he says, “I wasn’t dissing Merle, not the Merle I know. What I was talking about happened a long time ago, maybe in the late ’60s. Merle had that song out called ‘Fighting Side of Me’ and I’d seen an interview with him where he was going on about hippies and Dylan and the counter culture, and it kind of stuck in my mind and hurt, lumping me in with everything he didn't like. But of course times have changed and he’s changed too…He’s a complete man and we're friends these days. We have a lot in common.”

While receiving the MusiCares Person of the Year Award last week, Dylan said Haggard “didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t…Buck Owens did, and he recorded some of my early songs…’Buck Owens or Merle Haggard? If you had to have somebody’s blessing, you can figure it out.”

Haggard responded by saying, “Bob Dylan, I’ve admired your songs since 1964. ‘Don’t Think Twice [It’s Alright]’ Bob, Willie [Nelson] and I just recorded it on our new album.”

Dylan, however, was far less ambiguous about his opinion of Bruce Springsteen, who played “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” at the award ceremony. Calling Springsteen’s performance “incredible,’ he added, “Bruce pulled all the power and spirituality and beauty out of it like no one has ever done. He was faithful, truly faithful to the version on the record, obviously the only one he has to go by…He’s a great performer all around.”

Rock's Nastiest Feuds

See the Yearbook Photos of Bob Dylan and Other Rock Stars