StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115575666718753.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.ifco.org’, ‘Craig Morgan said his military service had a greater impact on his music than anything else. Ive seen a lot of crap that people only read about, he said. Thats my biggest charitable contribution right there.’);
Country music star takes stage at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 19
Craig Morgan is a country music star who was nominated as the Top New Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music Awards, and has had several No. 1 hits, including Thats What I Love About Sunday. He will be at the Winnebago County Fair, taking the stage at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 19.
For more about the Fair, which runs Aug. 15-20 at Winnebago County Fairgrounds in Pecatonica, call 239-1641 or toll-free, 800-238-3587.
The Rock River Times chatted with Morgan via telephone Aug. 14.
The Rock River Times (TRRT): Have you been to Rockford or the Winnebago County Fair?
Craig Morgan (CM): I think weve played there before, but not at all at the fair. But I do 160-180 shows a year, its kinda hard to remember (laughs).
TRRT: I know you were a volunteer firefighter in your hometown, and youre very close to that community. How does your being from a small town impact your life and your music?
CM: The same way anybodys environment impacts anybodys growth.
TRRT: When did music become important in your life?
CM: Well, it is now because its my livelihood. I never thought Id be making a living off of it. Its always been a part of my life.
TRRT: I know youve had a lot of hits, but what do you think was or is your biggest one?
CM: Thats What I Love About Sunday was big because it was the No. 1 song of the year, hard to get bigger than that. But Almost Home was a career-maker for me.
TRRT: I understand you broke your leg in the middle of a cross-country motorcycle race, got back on the bike and finished, and then you went back on tour right away. Impressive.
CM: We were on tour within a couple weeks. We were back on the road three days later and were doing shows. It was no big deal, nothing different from what the other bikers wouldve done.
TRRT: How does it feel to be nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards Top New Male Vocalist?
CM: It was an extreme honor to be one of the three nominated.
TRRT: I understand youve broken several body parts, and you donated your wrist cast to charity. Do you often do charitable work? Are you still a volunteer firefighter?
CM: No, Im not doing volunteer firefighting. But I do a lot of charity, I work a lot with St. Judes Childrens Research Hospital. Im involved with them a lot.
TRRT: I know you were involved in Special Operations when you served in the armed forces. When were you in the Army?
CM: [For] almost 11 years of active service and six years with the Army National Guard. I left active duty in 1996. I wasnt in the Green Berets, but I served with them and supported them.
TRRT: How did your military experience impact your life and music?
CM: Oh my God, more than anything else. Ive seen a lot of crap that people only read about. Thats my biggest charitable contribution right there.
TRRT: Being both a military veteran and a patriotic country singer, what do you think of the Iraq war?
CM: If we didnt have those men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, then wed be fighting them right here. Sept. 11th was just the tip of the iceberg.
TRRT: Would you go back into the service if called to do so?
CM: Yeah, just like any American. Yeah, I would go.
TRRT: I know youre inspired by religion quite a bit. How do you think God has impacted your music?
CM: Ive completely given it to him. Its all him. Thats why I am the way I am.
TRRT: Do you think fans respond to that?
CM: I think they feel theyre getting some honesty. Im the same all the time.
TRRT: What about your family: how do you spend time with them when youre out on the road 280 days out of the year?
CM: Im Dad when I go home, and a husband. My wife is an angel, we have a lot of cell phone conversations (laughs).
From the Aug. 16-22, 2006, issue