Craig Morgan Talks Grounding His Kids, New Album and Climbing Mt. Everest
Old habits die hard. For Craig Morgan, it's the habits he learned from his parents and from his military career. The 'This Ole Boy' singer keeps a schedule that makes the President look lazy and refers to exercise as "P.T." He compares changing record labels (Morgan is now signed to the Black River Entertainment) to changing units. With two kids still at home, his struggle isn't finding the time keep up with his grocery list of hobbies -- it's finding new hobbies to fill his time. Like the Energizer Bunny, Morgan keeps going and going and going ...
'This Ole Boy' (in stores Feb. 28) is Morgan's sixth studio album and his first since parting ways with Sony in 2011. The singer, television personality and avid hunter says that unlike previous projects, he entered the studio ready and rested this time around, even taking a few days off from everything to make sure the album got his full attention. The result is a project he calls "the best record I ever made." He called to catch up with Taste of Country at 8AM Nashville time, extraordinarily early by Music City standards.
Are you a morning person?
I am a morning person. In my world it's about noon already [laughs].
What time do you wake up?
Somewhere between 4:30 and 6. Always.
What do you get done during those hours?
Everything, are you kidding? I answer emails and all kinds of crap. Work around the house, feed animals, all that stuff.
There's just so much to be done. I'm only home for a few days you know, and out on the road that's my time to get up and be by myself. Have my coffee. And I usually try to run, get my PT in and what have you.
When was the last time you had to ground someone?
Just last week [laughs]. (It was) abuse of their Facebook.
And how long was he grounded for?
He's still grounded. It's gonna be some time. I took his iPad and his phone away from him.
What's the most trouble you got in when you were growing up?
I was a perfect child. I didn't get in trouble [laughs]. I'm kidding. I don't know the worst trouble I ever got into. Honestly, I really didn't do a lot of terrible stuff. My parents were very strict. My dad was tough but also very kind but I always was scared to death that I was gonna get in trouble so I didn't do too much. You know, typical stuff kids do, staying out late, throwing bottles at mailboxes. I think I was with my cousin one time and we got pulled over for throwing bottles at mailboxes.
Last time we talked, you said that 'Love Loves a Long Night' was the song you were most excited about having on this new album and one can certainly see why. It's really one of your better vocal performances. Can you describe the process of writing and recording that song?
The writing for me was just like any writing session. Sometimes it's spur of the moment, sometimes it's scheduled ... This time I went out and wrote with some people I hadn't written with and it was just awesome. We just sat around and I had the idea, and we just started writing it and 45 minutes later we were done with that song. I just felt like from the time we wrote it 'til we got in the studio it was something that was just so powerful vocally, unlike any of the other stuff.
I felt like I recorded some stuff similar to that in the past. My first Sony record I had a couple of songs but they were so outside of my vain that there was some shock value there for some people. People come to expect certain things from us, from singers and if you get too far away from that they think something is wrong. And I think I did that on my Sony record.
What were the most difficult songs to sing on the album?
There were no difficult parts. 'Love Loves a Long Night,' that long note at the end, I've done that on a few things. And again I've never -- I don't think about singing a whole lot, I'll be honest. I just try to do it and do what feels natural because I figure if it feels natural it's gonna be natural and it's gonna come across that way and I'll be able to do it for a long time. I will say though, that last note I may not be able to do when I'm 65 [laughs].
How do you define an album's success?
There's two ways to look at it, from an artistic perspective, and from a realistic perspective [laughs]. From an artistic perspective I consider it a success if you feel like you accomplish what you set out to accomplish vocally, and through production and so on. And I feel like artistically this is the best record I've ever made. I've even made the statement, this may be the best record I ever make. Cause everything was perfect. It's the first record on this new label, so there's an energy that you can't get on a second record. You can't get that down the road, it just doesn't happen. That's a reality. It's kind of like a first kiss. You can't have but one first kiss. You can have a first kiss with a second person [laughs] but it's still not the first kiss.
Now realistic success is sales. You know in order for record labels to stay in business they gotta sell records or downloads … they gotta make money. My objective is to sell a bunch of records. I'd love to see this label have from me, my best first week ever just so everybody out there sees that this label is not just some little label. We're here staying and I wanna be a big part of that.
How did you get Angie Harmon for the 'This Ole Boy' video?
I called her.
Are you friends?
We are now, we weren't then. We had a mutual friend, actually it was the guy who does my hair on a lot of stuff … was working with Angie doing her hair and makeup and what-have-you, and she was talking to him one day about the industry and talking about how she always wanted to be in a country video and she made the comment that she really like Craig Morgan's music and he said 'Really, I work with him.'
That happened about four or five weeks before we shot the video so it was big God thing I say.
The great part about her is she's sexy, but she's also believable in the video. She's not some 22-year-old that you're pretending to cuddle up with.
Oh no, she's completely beautiful. And you're right she is over the top sexy. Hot! But more more importantly I think it's her personality that draws that. She wouldn't have to be near as hot physically and she would still be extremely sexy. Her personality is just over the top, it just blew my mind.
You have a lot of different interests and talents. What is out there that you're still looking to do outside of country music?
Man I don't know. I've thought about that a lot. A lot lately especially. I've done so much and I continue to be able to do things. I still race dirt bikes, I still work with law enforcement, I still hunt and fish and hike and canoe and skydive and SCUBA dive. I still get to do all of those things that I wanna do and like to do and enjoy it. I don't know that there's anything left. My bucket list is pretty much empty. I've emptied the bucket on the things that I'd like to do. I guess I could say I wanna climb Mt. Everest. I might do that just because I don't know a country act that's ever climbed Mt. Everest [laughs].
You're so nonchalant about that.
I don't think it's that difficult. I've seen some of the people doing it. I've seen what kind of shape they're in.