Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 7, 2005

Exclusive interview with Craig Morgan

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

There is a certain rush one gets paratrooping out of a military aircraft. There is also a certain rush that one gets stepping out on a stage to sing in front of thousands of people.

Winstock 2005 performer Craig Morgan is probably one of few people in the world that has experienced both.

“It’s weird, because they each have a different kind of rush,” Morgan said in an interview several weeks ago. “There’s a rush I get on stage and in this industry that I could never get in the military. Then, there’s things that happened in the military that I could never experience here.”

“Some of the rushes I got in the Army are probably rushes most people don’t want,” Morgan said.

“Getting shot at isn’t always real fun,” he added with a laugh, and said that he hasn’t been shot at in the music business – yet.

Although he hasn’t been shot at, he is getting his shot at some major country radio airtime with his newest song “That’s What I Love About Sunday.”

The song was at number five on the Billboard music charts last week, and looks like it will keep progressing toward the coveted number one spot, currently held by Winstock alumnus Rascal Flatts with “Bless The Broken Road.”

Although Morgan writes a majority of his own music, his latest hit is one that he did not write.

“It is a song written by a buddy of mine, and when I first heard it, I felt an attachment to it as if it were a song I had written,” Morgan said. “It was just that kind of song for me, and I was real excited to have it. It talks about all the things I’m all about.”

To get a sampling of what else Morgan is about, his newest album, “My Kind of Livin,’” is in stores Tuesday, and it does a good job of painting a picture of the kind of guy Morgan is.

“I have 11 favorite songs on that album,” he said. “When you think about it, you weed through how many thousand songs, and there are my 11 favorites.”

While on tour with another fellow Winstock alumnus, Keith Urban, he saw the high energy level Urban plays with, and wanted to write a song for Urban’s album.

Morgan got together with several song-writing buddies and out came the song “I Got You.” Morgan liked it so much that he decided to keep it for himself.

“This is one of the best songs we do live,” he said. “It lets me do stuff with my guitar that I don’t get to usually do.”

His songs “I’m Country” and “Redneck Yacht Club” touch on the humorous side of being from the country. He invited yet another Winstock alumnus, John Conlee, to sing with him on the song “Blame Me,” which talks about being “hardcore country inside and out.”

“I was on the road 280 days last year, and I made the record in-between touring,” Morgan said. “It took me a little longer than it probably would because I co-produced the album.”

He does a majority of his songwriting on the road, and frequently brings friends out on the road to write with him.

Morgan co-wrote and sang “Almost Home,” which was named Music Row’s song of the year, and also made it into the top 10 for him. Like several other emerging artists of the early 2000s, Morgan fell victim to the closing of his Nashville record label.

“It wasn’t as bad as some people might think,” Morgan said about his record label closing. “Primarily because we had some success – enough success that it made it worth our while. While it was bad for them, it was good for me. They helped me establish my relationships with radio.”

He has now been on Broken Bow Records, which has a full promotions team, and a distribution deal, which Morgan said “are the two most important things.”

Before breaking into music, Morgan spent 11 years in the Army, serving as a paratrooper in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause (Panama). He served with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, and trained at the ROK Ranger School in Korea. But now, Morgan has just one target in mind – his career.

“We plan on doing a bunch of TV stuff, and I’ve accepted a couple of scripts for movies, and I’m reading those to see if I want to get in that a little bit,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing if a singer of any genre, country in particular, can get involved in TV or movies because it brings more attention to our format – unless you suck, then it doesn’t matter,” he said laughing.

“I won’t know if I suck or not ‘til I get the chance to try it,” he said, laughing.

In addition to doing several television shows to promote “My Kind of Livin,’” along with radio and media interviews and tour dates, he and Billy Dean are also working on a “Guys Night Out” tour for this summer.

He said he is looking forward to touring this summer, and said “we can’t wait to get there,” about performing at Winstock 2005.

Morgan is scheduled to take the stage at Winstock Saturday, June 4 at 1 p.m.

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