Craig Morgan Greer (born July 17, 1965 in Kingston Springs, Tennessee) is an American country music artist. A veteran of the United States Army, Morgan began his musical career in 2000 on Atlantic Records, releasing his self-titled debut album for that label before the closure of its Nashville division in 2000. In 2002, Morgan signed to the independent Broken Bow Records, on which he released three studio albums: 2003's I Love It, 2005's My Kind of Livin', and 2006's Little Bit of Life. These produced several chart hits, including "That's What I Love About Sunday," which spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard country charts and was that publication's Number One country hit of 2005. A greatest hits package followed in mid- 2008 before Morgan left the label for BNA Records, on which he released That's Why later that same year. My Kind of Livin' is also his highest-selling album, having been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Overall, Morgan has charted fifteen times on the Billboard country charts. Besides "That's What I Love About Sunday," five more of his singles have reached Top Ten: "Almost Home," "Redneck Yacht Club," "Little Bit of Life," "International Harvester" and "Love Remembers."
Craig Morgan during a USO performance, March 20, 2007
Craig Morgan Greer was born in Kingston Springs, Tennessee and grew up in rural Tennessee. He became an Emergency medical technician at age 18. A few years later, he joined the Army and was stationed in South Korea. He was in combat as part of Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. While stationed in Korea, Morgan wrote a number of songs and won various military singing and songwriting contests.
Morgan spent ten years on active duty as a Fire Support Specialist in the United States Army, serving in the 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions before launching his music career. He holds Airborne, Jumpmaster, and Air Assault qualifications.
In addition to his Opry appearances and regular touring schedule, Morgan frequently performs at military bases both in the U.S. and abroad. He was awarded the 2006 USO Merit Award for his tireless support of US soldiers and their families. Morgan has been active in raising money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
On September 18, 2008, Morgan was invited by John Conlee to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Morgan was formally inducted as Opry member by Conlee at the Grand Ole Opry House during the October 25, 2008 edition of the Opry.
Morgan is married to wife Karen and has four children: a daughter, Alex, and sons Kyle, Jerry, and Wyatt.
This section requires expansion with:
Critical reception, musical stylings.
Hundreds of fans showed up to see Craig Morgan perform for the USO, March 20, 2007
Upon his return home to Tennessee, he worked various jobs to support his family, including as a construction worker, a security guard and a sheriff's deputy. He would later land a job in Nashville singing demos for other songwriters and publishing companies. The demos led to releasing his first album with Atlantic Records, the self-titled Craig Morgan in 2000. It produced three singles, including "Something to Write Home About," which reached #39 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts. The album was produced by Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson, with co-writing credits from Cannon, Bill Anderson and Harley Allen among others. The album's final track, "I Wish I Could See Bakersfield," included a recitation from Merle Haggard. Country Standard Time critic Jon Weisberger gave the album a mixed review, saying that Morgan had a strong singing voice but that most of the songs were "by-the-numbers." Jim Patterson of The Ledger said that lead-off single "Something to Write Home About" was "pedestrian," but that the rest of the album was "an uncommonly assured hard-country effort."
Late in the year, Morgan charted at #68 with a Christmas single entitled "The Kid in Me." Morgan left Atlantic Records in early 2001 when the label closed its Nashville branch, but said that he was not afraid of his musical future, as he still had a publishing contract at the time.
2002-2008: Broken Bow Records
I Love It
In 2002, Morgan signed with Broken Bow Records, and independent record label. There, he released his second album, I Love It. Leading off this album was "God, Family and Country," a song dedicated to former Nashville session drummer Randy Hardison, with backing vocals from 4 Runner. Following this song was Morgan's second Top 40 hit at #6, "Almost Home." The album's next two singles, "Every Friday Afternoon" and "Look at Us," respectively reached #25 and #29 on the country charts. By 2004, the album had sold more than 300,000 copies, and its success was cited as the beginning of a new wave of commercially successful independently-signed acts in country music.
This album was met with mixed reviews. Rick Cohoon of Allmusic gave it four stars out of five, saying that Morgan's songwriting was "well-crafted" and that his service in the Army justified the patriotic themes of "God, Family and Country." Jeffrey B. Remz of Country Standard Time commended the album for maintaining a neotraditionalist country sound, but said that the ballads were "generic."
My Kind of Livin'
Morgan released his third album, My Kind of Livin', in 2004. It included eight songs that Morgan co-wrote, as well as guest vocals from John Conlee and Brad Paisley on "Blame Me." The first single release, "That's What I Love About Sunday," became his only Number One hit and reached #51 on the Hot 100 charts. The song was also the Number One country music single of 2005 on the Billboard Year-End charts. The first Number One hit for the Broken Bow label, it was also the first independently-distributed single to top the country charts in five years, and the first independently-distributed single to spend multiple weeks at Number One on that chart since The Kendalls' "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" in 1977.
The album's next single, "Redneck Yacht Club," reached #2 on the country charts and #45 on the Hot 100, his highest peak on the latter chart. After it came the #12 "I Got You", which Morgan had originally written for Keith Urban but, after recording a demo version, decided to keep the song for himself. My Kind of Livin' was also certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping 500,000 copies, and "Redneck Yacht Club" earned a gold certification for 500,000 music downloads.
Little Bit of Life
His third and final album for Broken Bow, Little Bit of Life, was issued in 2006. Morgan and O'Donnell chose to "raise the bar" by co-producing the album with Keith Stegall, a record producer known for his work with Alan Jackson. The label shipped more than 200,000 copies of the album in its first week, and made special exclusive releases for retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart. Its title track ecame his fourth Top Ten hit, peaking at #7, followed by the #11 "Tough" and the #10 "International Harvester", which was co-written by Shane Minor, Jeffrey Steele and Danny Myrick. A Greatest Hits package followed in February 2008, shortly before his departure from Broken Bow.
2008-present: BNA Records
Although it had been first announced that Morgan would sign to Big Machine Records sister label Valory Music Group, he instead signed to BNA Records, a division of Sony BMG Nashville. His first album for the label, That's Why, was released in October 2008, and its lead-off single "Love Remembers" reached a peak of #9 on the country charts in December 2008. After the second single, "God Must Really Love Me," peaked at #26, BNA re-issued the album in May 2009 with two new songs. One of these, "Bonfire," was issued as a single that same month.