Craig Morgan discusses inspiration behind music

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115575666718753.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of’, ‘Craig Morgan said his military service had a greater impact on his music “than anything else.” “I’ve seen a lot of crap that people only read about,” he said. “That’s 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 “That’s 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 we’ve played there before, but not at all at the fair. But I do 160-180 shows a year, it’s kinda hard to remember (laughs).

TRRT: I know you were a volunteer firefighter in your hometown, and you’re very close to that community. How does your being from a small town impact your life and your music?

CM: The same way anybody’s environment impacts anybody’s growth.

TRRT: When did music become important in your life?

CM: Well, it is now because it’s my livelihood. I never thought I’d be making a living off of it. It’s always been a part of my life.

TRRT: I know you’ve had a lot of hits, but what do you think was or is your biggest one?

CM: “That’s 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 would’ve 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 you’ve 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, I’m not doing volunteer firefighting. But I do a lot of charity, I work a lot with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I’m 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 wasn’t 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. I’ve seen a lot of crap that people only read about. That’s 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 didn’t have those men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we’d 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 you’re inspired by religion quite a bit. How do you think God has impacted your music?

CM: I’ve completely given it to him. It’s all him. That’s why I am the way I am.

TRRT: Do you think fans respond to that?

CM: I think they feel they’re getting some honesty. I’m the same all the time.

TRRT: What about your family: how do you spend time with them when you’re out on the road 280 days out of the year?

CM: I’m 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

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